Last week, The Labour Court recommended that a luxury hotel in the south-west of the country pay out a settlement of €90,000 to a former manager over his unfair dismissal claim. The recommendation is not binding on the hotel, however.
The manager brought his claim after he was not retained in his senior position. He had held the role for 11 weeks when he was informed that things were not working out and that he would not be retained.
Counsel for the hotel owners told the Labour Court that the manager had been employed on a probationary basis and that the hotel was fully within its rights not to retain his services within that 11-week period.
Counsel for the manager maintained, however, that he had been specifically head-hunted for the role and had moved from Dublin to the south-west to take up the role on the understanding that he was being offered a 36-month contract.
He said he was informed, without warning, by the managing director of the hotel that he was being dismissed from the position in April and initiated his claim in the Labour Court in August. He said his reputation had been seriously damaged as a result of the dismissal.
Counsel for the hotel owners disputed several elements of the manager’s claim. They pointed out that the hotel had been under the current ownership for almost 40 years and that there had been no employment disputes of any kind in that time.
They also pointed out that the manager’s contract of employment clearly stated that either party had the option of terminating his employment within the probationary period by giving written notice, and maintained that the owners had done precisely that.
In its findings, the Labour Court took issue with the manner in which the manager was dismissed, describing the procedures followed as “seriously flawed”. It noted that the manager was not given any details of his performance issues or reasons for his dismissal, was given no prior warning before the dismissal and was not afforded an opportunity to reply to or appeal the decision.
It recommenced the hotel owners pay the manager €90k in full settlement of the claim, but the recommendation is not legally binding on the owners and they are understood to have sought legal advice in studying the recommendation.
- What are your employee rights?
- Are you fulfilling your obligations as an employer?
- As an employer, what disciplinary action can you take, and how can you save a relationship with a contractor?
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