Even if your employer is implementing genuine redundancies, they can still create a situation where a claim of unfair dismissal will arise if they fail to adhere to fair procedures during the redundancy process, as evidenced in the Employment Appeals Tribunal case of Olivia Dempsey v C & F Automotive Limited T/A Iralco.
When Ms. Dempsey commenced employment as a general operative in 2005, she was provided with a copy of the Respondent’s employee handbook. The employee handbook was subsequently updated in 2008, so as to allow for a “last in first out” redundancy policy. Ms. Dempsey submitted to the Tribunal that she never received a copy of this updated handbook, nor were the changes to the handbook explained to her, even though the respondent employer argued that the handbook was widely available and was posted on their website.
In March 2014, the business was in financial difficulties and it was decided that the manufacture of some of the respondent’s products would be moved abroad and sop 17 redundancies were made. Ms. Dempsey submitted to the Tribunal that she was called into a meeting with the production manager and HR manager where she was handed a letter notifying her of her redundancy, which made no reference to appealing the dismissal, and she was told to leave the premises immediately. Ms. Dempsey subsequently appealed the termination of her employment but the respondent’s HR Manger decided not to address her appeal, as Ms. Dempsey was out of time within which to appeal her dismissal, and so ignored her correspondence.
The Tribunal accepted that while it was a genuine redundancy situation, Ms, Dempsey had been unfairly dismissed as no selection process had been used by the respondent, Ms. Dempsey was not given an opportunity to make representations and her letter of appeal was ignored. Accordingly, the Tribunal awarded Ms. Dempsey €20,000 in compensation for her unfair dismissal.
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