Tribunal awards €15k to worker who was ‘right to quit’

A worker who was not properly paid over a period of three years was justified in quitting his job, a tribunal has decided, awarding him over €15,000.

Joinery installation company Burke Fabrications Ltd, of Milltown, Co Galway, had repeatedly breached the mutual trust with the employee, Kevin Kilkerr, by either refusing or failing to pay him his due wages, the Employment Appeals Tribunal found.

Mr Kilkerr took his case to the tribunal, insisting he had no option but to quit his job. The company claimed he had simply left his employment.

In his evidence, he said he had started work with the company in October 2009, but on February 26, 2010, his pay cheque was returned by the bank.

He had regular discussions with a director of the company about not receiving his pay. The pay issues continued and he formally wrote to the company requesting his outstanding pay in September 2012. He was told in reply that he would receive all the money due to him.

The company, in its evidence, said Mr Kilkerr was paid up to date at the time his employment ended. He had been paid €5,000 on the day of the Rights Commissioners’ hearing.

A second director outlined how the business had experienced difficult years, but had now started to improve.

During the difficult periods, Mr Kilkerr’s hours had varied each week.

The director accepted that there had been issues with PRSI and PAYE in the past in relation to Mr Kilkerr, but all the contributions had been brought up to date.

The tribunal found Mr Kilkerr was justified in resigning his employment because of the failure on the part of Burke Fabrications Ltd to pay his wages.

It ruled his claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts had succeeded and awarded him €14,000 in compensation, with a further €1,212 under the Working Time Act.


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