In the recently published case of Colin Carrick v Dublin Stevedores Limited (UD831/2013) the claimant was awarded €50,000.
The claimant was employed as Assistant to Operations Manager from September 2001 for the respondent who operated cargo handling at Dublin Port. His father has set up the company with JN in 1992. In 2004 relations turned sour between JN and the claimant’s father who ultimately left the company but the claimant remained. There were a number of allegations concerning the claimant throughout his employment but he was never disciplined for any of these. The claimant felt that there was a campaign to get rid of him. He ultimately suffered an injury at work on 9th December 2013 and was certified unfit for work for several weeks. He was fit to return to work on 7th January 2013 and his union representative wrote tot he company on several occasions seeking a return to work date but these efforts proved unsuccessful. The claimant felt he had no alternative but to treat himself as dismissed from the respondent.
The respondent cited a number of alleged incidents with the claimant but gave evidence that no action was taken in relation to any of these. In respect of the claimant’s return to work, a meeting took place with the claimant’s representative on 14th February 2013 and the respondent stated that they were awaiting transcripts of recent court hearings before the claimant could return to work. The respondent stated that they did not dismiss the claimant but rather the claimant’s solicitor wrote on 23rd April 2013 seeking the claimant’s P45.
The Tribunal found that the claimant was unfairly dismissed and awarded him €50,000 under the Unfair Dismissal Act 1977 (as amended) noting:
“………Following a period of absences on sick leave the claimant indicated by medical certificate his availability to return to work. However, the respondent required the claimant to give an explanation over a comment he made (which he denied making). The claimant’s return to work was contingent on his giving this explanation. The Tribunal feels this was not relevant to his employment and it related to a personal issue unconnected to his employment. However, the respondent refused to engage on this issue and despite numerous letters from the claimant’s union the respondent did not proffer a date for the claimant’s return to work. The claimant thereafter sought his P45 after four months without a valid response from his employer”