A former customer service executive claimed under Sections 7, 8 & 9 of the Unfair Dismissals Act and was awarded €4707 in compensation.
The complainant commenced her employment on the 20th of June 2016 under a 6 month fixed-term contract. She was dismissed by way of letter on 16th of June 2017. She was not supplied with any additional contracts following the expiration of her initial fixed-term contract. It was understood to the complainant that she had been ‘made permanent’.
On the 15th of June 2016 the complainant was informed of a meeting scheduled for the following day. It was understood that this meeting could lead to the termination of her employment. The complainant attended said meeting with a union representative, and was dismissed by way of letter the same day. Expiration of contract was cited as the reasoning behind her dismissal, with no mention of performance issues. The complainant notes she is eligible to claim under the Unfair Dismissals Act as she is entitled to one weeks’ notice of termination, which brings her total employment with the respondent just over the 12 month minimum. However, she was paid in lieu of such notice.
The respondent claims that the former employee had been employed on a series of rolling one month fixed-term contracts, starting on the 19th of December 2016. The complainant had been verbally informed of such contracts, as well as her under-performance within the position. On March 27th she was informed that her performance was under review, with a risk of dismissal should she fail to improve.
The complainant notes she either ‘met targets or just below them’ and was placed in a high performance team just one week prior to her dismissal. It should also be noted that her termination letter referred only to the expiration of contract as justification for dismissal, and failed to mention the alleged performance issues.
The complainant was paid in lieu of her weeks’ notice as was provided for in her contract. However the Unfair Dismissals Act provides that her notice would have ended on the 23rd of June 2017, therefore entitling her to claim given her 12 months’ of continuous service.
The complaints were deemed well-founded and the complainant was awarded €4707 in compensation of her dismissal.
The respondent claims to have spoken with the complainant numerous times in regard to her poor performance. It’s clear that no one party was in the wrong; both made mistakes. However, there was an extreme lack of written records on the employer’s part. Without a traceable history of performance issues, they may as well have been folklore.
You’d think that leaving a paper trail would be second nature to an employer- but it can be easy to forget. That’s because in general, life doesn’t require written notices and records like it does in the workplace.
The truth is there’s little of more importance than written records at work, regardless of how trustworthy and reliable an employee is. Not only does keeping a ‘paper trail’ help in situations like this, but also empowers an employer to make bold and innovative changes to the workplace without avoidable confusion and hassle. This applies to employees too: it’s easy to speak with a colleague or employer, but be sure you confirm anything of importance with an email.
Be it emails, letters or stone tablets: keep a record of everything!