An employee who was dismissed for repeatedly hitting a cow with a plastic pipe has lost his claim for unjustified dismissal.

The cow was in such a distressed state that its leg became trapped and it required the attention of a veterinarian.

The Employment Relations Authority member stated that abuse of animals, particularly in a business where the income is earned by the management of animals, is very serious, and he could not imagine a more serious offence in a farming situation than that observed by the employer that particular day.

Physical abuse of this nature could be considered serious misconduct and an employee could be properly dismissed under the Employment Relations Act provided the employer followed carefully the proper process.

For our free checklist on how to handle a disciplinary process call Alan Knowsley or download it here.