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Follow your Procedures…

The papers at the weekend reported an Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) decision where a hotel worker received over €7,500 in compensation under the Unfair Dismissals legislation.
In this case a hotel worker named Baltzer was dismissed from his position as a hotel porter at a Killarney hotel.
The employee had accessed a room under the instructions of an inebriated guest. Unfortunately it was the wrong room and as this wasn’t the first time this had happened it was a disciplinary matter. In fact, on two previous occasions the employee had done this and had been warned of the consequences that such a further breach could lead to his dismissal.
The employee even admitted in the EAT that he had not in fact checked the guest register on the porter’s list before accessing the room. When he opened the door of the room he found that there were guests asleep inside. The employee apologised and left however the guests complained and refused to pay their charge the following morning.
The hotel explained to the employee that they could not risk a fourth incident as understandably this was impacting on their business.
They terminated the employee who was on a work permit and who as such could not be considered for other positions which may have been available.
The employee sought redress through the EAT.
Now you might think that such a consistent breach by an employee of specific instructions and policies should be grounds for dismissal and even gross misconduct, but, employment law is very strict on procedure.
As such the EAT found that the employer had not followed the correct procedure in their disciplinary action and because they had not advised the employee that he was entitled to representation and an appeal, they had dismissed him unfairly.
This is another strong indication from the EAT of the importance of having and then following procedures. In fact in the eyes of employment law and the EAT, the employee could have murdered the guests and still be entitled to fair procedure before he could be sacked.
To find out more about employment law, unfair dismissals and your rights as an employer or an employee please see www.employment-matters.ie or call Sean on 085 6050569.

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