, ,

The decision of Davide Colli v Ryanair Limited UD 193/2010 sent last week makes for interesting reading. The case concerned the dismissal of the Claimant as a result of the carrying out of an audit on the performance by the Claimant of his duties as No. 1 Cabin Crew or Cabin Crew Supervisors. The audit consisted of the preparation of three separate reports by three “mystery passengers” on three separate flights.

The Respondent held an investigation meeting which consisted of a discussion with the Claimant on the content of the three reports. A subsequent disciplinary meeting consisted of dealing with the response of the Respondent to the investigation meeting and the Claimant’s input. Some of the matters raised in the three reports concerned security and safety issues and the Tribunal noted that the concerns were well founded. The Tribunal found that the deteriorating level of performance by the Claimant in the execution of his duties were evidenced in the reports. It found (a) the matters represented a significant departure by the Claimant from standards to be reasonably expected from experienced No. 1 Cabin Crew, (b) these were not matters which the Respondent could be reasonably be required or expected to remedy or address by way of written warning, demotion or suspension and (c) it fundamentally affected and undermined the relationship of trust between employer and employee.

The Tribunal concluded that the behaviour of the Claimant constituted gross misconduct and hence the unfair dismissal claim failed.

Of interest in this case was that the Tribunal specifically addressed the procedure adopted by the Respondent in the course of the investigation hearing and wanted it to be of “guidance” to the parties involved. The Tribunal noted:

  • The investigation procedure was not objected to by the Claimant.
  • The Respondent invited the Claimant to an investigation meeting to discuss three reports but these were only produced to him for the first time at the meeting.

It was the unanimous view of the Employment Appeals Tribunal that the proper procedure should have consisted of the following steps:

  1. The Claimant should have been furnished with a copy of the reports prior to the investigation meeting.
  2. In the event of failing to furnish the reports prior to the investigation meeting, the reports should have been furnished at the investigation meeting together with an enquiry as to whether the Claimant required more time to re-consider.