The managing director of a Cork courier firm must pay out €7,500 to his former partner and mother of their grown-up daughter in an unfair dismissal case.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) found that the dismissal of Margaret O’Riordan by Prompto Despatch Ltd was procedurally unfair.
Ms O’Riordan was in a personal relationship with the MD and principal shareholder of the firm — who is not named in the report — for over 20 years.
The EAT records that the firm — based at Watergrasshill Business Park — moved to make a number of workers redundant in February 2014 after losing two substantial contracts.
Ms O’Riordan worked mornings, averaging 20 hours per week. She was a non-executive director with one company share but never attended board meetings and had no knowledge of the company’s financial matters.
All other employees were full-time and following her break-up with the MD in 2008, Ms O’Riordan continued in the employment for a further six years without any problems.
The matrix for those who were to be made redundant in 2014 considered experience, qualifications, flexibility, PC competence, cost, hours of work, ability to cover for other employees, and ability to assume others’ duties. She scored lowest on the matrix as her duties were largely clerical .
In March 2014, Ms O’Riordan was given an envelope containing her notice of redundancy and outlining that the termination payment would comprise a statutory redundancy payment of €23,556, eight weeks’ pay in lieu of notice payment amounting to €5,007 and a car valued at €9,750.
Ms O’Riordan told the hearing that redundancy or cost-cutting had never been mentioned to her or to other members of staff.
The tribunal found that a genuine redundancy existed and that Ms O’Riordan’s selection was not unfair. However, it said it was not satisfied that the procedures adopted by the firm in the process were entirely fair.
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