In the Employment Appeals Tribunal case of Lorcan Cribbin v Petrolo Limited T/A The Unicorn, the Tribunal found that a chef had been unfairly dismissed from his employment.


The Claimant was an experienced chef who worked for the Respondent Employer for a number of years in different restaurants. In February 2011, the Claimant commenced work in the Unicorn Restaurant, which was owned by the Respondent Employer.

In April 2014, the Claimant was informed that a new investor was to become involved in the business and that the restaurant would be closed for refurbishment for approximately 10 to 12 days. The Claimant came back to work early, so as to carry out food orders and food preparation, and discovered that new chefs had been employed in every position, including his position as head chef.

The new investor finally met with the Claimant and the other staff where he was offered a dramatically lower salary in order to retain his job. The Claimant offered to accept a 10% reduction in his salary, to which the new investor replied “no – that’s you finished”. The Claimant submitted to the Tribunal that the new investor asked all the other staff the same question.

The Claimant confirmed that he had secured a new position within a number of weeks following his dismissal.


The Tribunal noted that the Respondent Employer had not been present at the hearing and found for the Claimant on the basis of his uncontested evidence, awarding him €33,666 in compensation for his unfair dismissal.


Under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, if an employee has incurred no financial loss, then the maximum compensation that can be awarded is four weeks’ remuneration. Therefore, if an employee secures a new position immediately after their dismissal on the same terms and conditions of employment, then they are restricted to up to four week’s remuneration in terms of the compensation that they can be awarded.

However, if the employee secures a new position and they are paid significantly less than their former position then they can claim for the differential between their old salary and their new salary as part of their financial loss.

If you have been dismissed from your employment and are considering taking a claim, or alternatively if you have brought unfair dismissal proceedings yourself but are unsure as to how to conduct those proceedings, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

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