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WRC Finds That Employer Acted Unreasonably in Failing to Make Genuine Efforts to Contact Employee Who Was Absent from Work

posted 1 year ago

Facts: The Complainant lodged a complaint with the WRC under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 – 2015 (the “Acts”) claiming that he was unfairly dismissed. He also submitted a complaint in relation to the Respondent’s failure to give him notice or payment in lieu of notice as provided for under the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts 1973 – 2005 (the “1973 – 2005 Acts”). It was the Respondent’s position that the Complainant commenced a period of unauthorised absence from 19th May 2021 which was unexplained. They initiated disciplinary proceedings against the Complainant, who did not participate in the process or respond to any of the Respondent’s communications. These communications were sent to the Complainant by email only. Evidence was given on behalf of the Respondent regarding its correspondence to with the Complainant relating to his absence and regarding the investigation and disciplinary process which the Complainant had not engaged in. The decision to dismiss the Complainant was made by Mr. Darren Devine, the Respondent’s Sales Operations Manager. Mr. Devine gave evidence on the procedures followed in the investigation and disciplinary stages and on what he described as exhaustive efforts made to engage the Complainant in the process. The Complainant was ultimately dismissed with effect from 27th August 2021. The Respondent kept the Complainant on payroll for several months after this date due to an administrative error. In relation to the Minimum Notice claim, the Respondent claimed that as the Complainant was dismissed for gross misconduct he was not entitled to minimum notice.

 

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