Workplace Relations Commission awards largest-ever payout in history 6 months ago

Workplace Relations Commission awards largest-ever payout in history

The compensation figure is more than double the previous record.

Ireland's Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has handed out its largest-ever award to a complainant in history.

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The compensation figure of €329,000 relates to an unfair dismissal case and equates to more than double the previous record. The awardee in this instance was a sales executive who was accused of workplace bullying.

However, no formal warning had been issued to the individual and thus the grounds for their subsequent dismissal were deemed to be "unclear". Additionally, the behaviour in question had taken place during Ramadan, which the claimant was observing.

According to the WRC Adjudicator, a "reasonable" employer would have made efforts to understand if the employee's observance of Ramadan was causing difficulty for him.

"The WRC Adjudicator determined that the award was equivalent to 75% of the worker's financial loss over a two-year period," said Moira Grassick, COO at Peninsula Ireland, in response to the ruling.

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"This is a timely reminder for employers to ensure they have fair and consistent disciplinary and grievance procedures in place. An employer may find that an employee may raise a grievance during the course of the investigation or disciplinary process, either about the process itself, or about some other related or unrelated matter."

Grassick says that the first step in such a scenario is for employers to consult their grievance and disciplinary procedures for guidance on how to best handle the matter, as well as to determine which policies and procedures are most appropriate in the situation.

"Under employment law, all employees must receive and sign off on the company's disciplinary and grievance procedure within 28 days of beginning work," Grassick adds.

"Employers can eliminate ambiguity and reduce the risk of unfair dismissal claims by doing this and implementing a formal procedure. In addition, employers must adhere to natural justice principles during a disciplinary process. Failure to do so, as demonstrated by this WRC award, can result in costly claims and reputational damage."

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