Employee sacked from company his father helped to set up

The Employment Appeals Tribunal has awarded €50,000 to a man who, it found, was unfairly dismissed from the company his father helped to set up.

Colin Carrick joined Dublin Stevedores Ltd in 2001.

According to evidence given to the tribunal by Mr Carrick, relations between the company’s founders JN and his father turned sour in 2004 and that resulted in the latter being ousted from the company. Court proceedings were initiated and Mr Carrick was a witness for the defence in the case.

According to the tribunal, on August 31, 2004, Mr Carrick said he got a telephone call from JN surrounding allegations about the claimant’s father, after which he was demoted.

He said the company stopped paying his telephone bill and his car insurance. He was accused of viewing pornography on a computer, but was never disciplined for the offence. He said while he primarily used the computer other employees equally had access to it. Mr Carrick said he was subjected to a tirade of bullying and harassment by JN and his family.

He said his five-day working week was reduced to three and then two days.

In November 2012, he said, he called into the office and was told JN would give him his pay cheque. According to the tribunal, Mr Carrick claimed that, when he went into JN’s office, JN said “you are a fucking liar” before using some “unparliamentary” language about his mother and his brothers.

Mr Carrick suffered an injury at work in December 2012 and was certified unfit for work for several weeks. However, when he was able to come back, he could not get a return-to-work date. As he had no income he had no alternative but to treat himself as being dismissed.

JN1, a director of the company and daughter of JN, said she witnessed pornographic images on the claimant’s computer. As there were ongoing court proceedings, she did not pursue the matter further.

The respondent confirmed Mr Carrick had a company mobile for which it paid the bills but said he refused to hand over his phone bills so the company requested he return the phone. It said while his car insurance had been paid by the company it should not have been.

The tribunal heard that JN denied ever speaking badly about Mr Carrick’s mother or her children or treating the claimant badly.

In December 2012, JN asked Mr Carrick to call to the office to collect his wages and while there asked him “why did you lie about me in the criminal trials”. He said Mr Carrick replied “you framed my father”.

JN said he was aware Mr Carrick had been injured at work in December 2012. A meeting was arranged with Mr Carrick’s union representative, but because JN was ill it was not scheduled until February 2013.

He said the union representatives wanted a return to work date for the claimant. JN said he wanted a copy of the transcripts of the court hearings before the claimant could return to work. He was informed that the transcripts could be only accessed through a solicitor.

The tribunal judged that Mr Carrick was unfairly dismissed.


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