€3k award for unfair dismissal of shoemaker

A shoemaker was summarily dismissed after his employer discovered he had gone into business for himself and was competing against him.

However, because of the summary nature of his dismissal, Krysztof Jurek was, in effect, unfairly dismissed by George Tutty Footwear Ltd, of Millbrook, Naas, Co Kildare, the Employment Appeals Tribunal found.

The tribunal hearing of the case, brought by Mr Jurek, of Mullaboden Cottage, Ballymore Eustace, was conducted last year and the tribunal report has now been published.

The company operates a specialist footwear business and had employed Mr Jurek from 2006 until his dismissal on June 13, 2012.

Because of the downturn, his working week had alternated between full-time and a three-day week. However, it came to the company’s attention he was making handmade boots in competition to the firm. It also emerged that his website and business card listed Mr Jurek’s phone number as the contact.

Mr Jurek told the tribunal he accepted that the website and business card were his, but had only received two orders and no boots had been made. He said he had created the website on impulse at a time when he was off work. He had been given just 10 minutes to pack his tools and leave the premises.

The tribunal said it was satisfied his behaviour provided grounds for his dismissal. “However, the tribunal is equally satisfied that the respondent [company] did not use any fair procedures in the manner with which the claimant was dismissed.”

It ruled the dismissal unfair and awarded Mr Jurek €3,000 in compensation.


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