One of our cases was reported in the Irish Times over the weekend. Here is the report and our commentary: “In a separate case before the Tribunal, a former barman was awarded €5000 despite admitting to having breached known rules about drinking alcohol at work. When he was caught on CCTV camera pouring a glass of cider for himself while at work, he was given an official warning by management. He was later fired after being accused of once again being caught on camera dispensing drinks that were not paid for. The Tribunals ruling stated that they had found fault with the company’s dismissal procedures. It made the award of €5000 under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2007”.
If a company is going to rely on CCTV footage it would be a good idea to retain this for documentary evidence. The Company failed to do this. To compound matters it hastily dismissed the barman without giving him an opportunity to defend himself or answer the claims made against him. The actual determination said the folllowing: “The Tribunal is satisfied that this was a dimissal without any or any fair procedure which therefore must render the dismissal unfair”
So you see, even if there may be a good cause to dismiss, any company that does this without adopting fair procedures will be punished in the EAT.
And as for the Barman? Well he is happy he has cleared his name and has received some compensation.
Shane Healy, Employment Specialist, Healy O’Connor Solicitors, Dublin and Cork.