The recent decision of the Irish Employment Appeals Tribunal in Jonathan Costello v Absolute Drain Services Limited T/a Greenday Environmental not only highlights the importance for an employer to formally invoke the disciplinary procedure but it also shows the importance of providing to an employee details of the allegation made against him.

The claimant worked for the respondent as a truck driver and he claimed that there were no issues until the day he returned from sick leave on 27 February 2012. On this date the claimant claimed that he was accused, by the managing director, of breaking a truck by driving it with the PTO (power take-off, a device that is installed on a truck and used to provide power to a non-vehicular device) engaged. The claimant denied this accusation and further stated that he had not been given any details of when he was alleged to have driven any truck with the PTO engaged. The claimant claimed that he did not receive an invitation via letter to attend a disciplinary hearing and further claimed that he was basically told by the managing director that “he could accept 4 weeks’ pay or walk.” This was the last day the claimant worked for the respondent and he subsequently received his p.45 in April 2012.

The respondent claimed that a letter with a written report detailing the issue with the truck was handed to the claimant on February 27 2012 and the intention was to have a disciplinary meeting with the claimant the next day. The respondent claimed that upon receiving the letter and written report the claimant threw down the papers and walked out.

The tribunal was of the opinion that the managing director had made up his mind that he no longer wished to employ the claimant because of the issue with the truck. The tribunal found that no disciplinary procedure had been invoked nor was the claimant given details of the allegation made against him. As a result, the tribunal found the dismissal of the claimant to be unfair and awarded the claimant the sum of €40,000 under the Unfair Dismissals Act.

To read further on the decision:-