The Employment Appeals Tribunal in the recent case of Lisa Ryan O’Connor v Ferrero Ireland Limited, awarded a former sweet factory worker €10,000 in compensation for her unfair dismissal.
The Claimant had been employed by the Respondent for over twelve years when she was asked in June 2010 to meet with her superior for a chat. The Claimant submitted to the Tribunal that she was not informed of her right to bring representation and that she was subsequently placed on paid suspension that day for allegedly changing the sweet recipe for tic-tacs. The Claimant and another work colleague attended a disciplinary meeting at the end of June 2010 and both were dismissed for gross misconduct for non-compliance with the Respondent’s recipe and manufacturing process.
The Claimant submitted to the Tribunal that her P45 was issued before an appeal of her dismissal took place and therefore she felt that the appeal had already been prejudged. The Claimant also submitted that her dismissal had been a disproportionate sanction given the fact that the Respondent did not have to stop production and therefore incurred no loss or damage.
During the course of the Tribunal hearing, it emerged that the Claimant had in fact not adhered to the Respondent’s food production policy on several occasions. The Tribunal acknowledged that the Claimant had been wrong in not obeying the Respondent’s requirements and that she had certainly colluded with the other dismissed employer with regard to changing the sweet recipe for tic-tacs. Notwithstanding the Claimant’s wrongdoing, the Tribunal noted that the Respondent’s procedures had been flawed and thus the Claimant had been unfairly dismissed.
Accordingly, the Tribunal awarded €10,000 in compensation for the Claimant’s unfair dismissal, taking into account the fact that she had tried to mitigate her losses.
To read further on the decision:-