Manager who broke colleagues jaw at work party awarded €6k for unfair dismissal

A betting shop manager who broke a work colleague’s jaw during a fight at a late night work ‘leaving do’ has been awarded €6,000 for his unfair dismissal.
Manager who broke colleagues jaw at work party awarded €6k for unfair dismissal

A betting shop manager who broke a work colleague’s jaw during a fight at a late night work ‘leaving do’ has been awarded €6,000 for his unfair dismissal.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Adjudication Officer, Catherine Byrne found that the betting shop manager’s behaviour on the night was “reckless and dangerous”.

However, Ms Byrne stated that in circumstances where the other man in the fight was issued with a final written warning by the betting company for engaging in the same behaviour, then the decision to dismiss the betting shop manager was not reasonable and the sanction of dismissal was excessive.

Noting the reckless and dangerous behaviour of the betting shop manager on the night, Ms Byrne stated: “In the context of this complaint, where the behaviour that caused the dismissal resulted in a serious injury to another person, I am mindful of the effect of a finding that a dismissal is unfair, and the implication that such behaviour might be condoned.”

Ms Byrne found that the dismissal was unfair and has ordered the betting company, which operates a network of betting shops, to pay the €6,000 compensation.

Recounting the events that led to the man’s dismissal, Ms Byrne stated that on Saturday, September 8th 2018, the betting shop manager went to a pub and nightclub for a ‘leaving do’ for a colleague.

She stated that the betting shop manager and a work colleague became involved in a scuffle outside the nightclub after the work colleague had earlier punched the manager inside the night-club.

In this encounter outside the night-club, the betting shop manager punched his colleague in the face causing serious injury to his jaw and mouth.

The gardaí were called and took statements from witnesses.

Ms Byrne staled that it was apparent that, at the time, both men were very drunk.

The betting shop manager was sacked for gross misconduct by his employer on September 27, 2018 for causing an injury to a colleague and bringing the reputation of the company into disrepute.

The betting firm stated that the dismissal of the manager was justified by reason of his serious misconduct, his seniority in the betting shop and for failing to act in a manner to avoid the outcome that resulted in an injury to his colleague.

The firm argued that the severity of the blow that caused the injuries was, on the balance of probabilities, indicative of the manager’s intention to cause not just an injury, but a serious injury.

As a result of the assault, the betting firm stated that it lost the trust and confidence required of a person in his role in the company and his position as a manager was compromised.

The company argued that the company was entitled to find the other worker less culpable, as he was less senior than the complainant.

The betting manager argued that he hit his colleague in self-defence and that he was dismissed on an erroneous finding of assaulting a colleague.

He told the WRC that his colleague punched him in the face for no reason, and he fell backwards causing him to spill the drinks of customers at a nearby table in the night-club.

The manager said that his face was marked by this “unprovoked punch” and that his face was red and bruised.

The manager decided to go home and when he was outside the nightclub waiting for a taxi, the complainant said that his colleague approached him in an aggressive manner, saying “we’ll sort this out now.”

The manager said that he felt threatened and he threw a punch to keep his work colleague back from him.

Ms Byrne found that the betting manager’s colleague made the first punch in the night-club and he followed the manager outside and “began a conversation again,” with the purpose of “clearing the air.”

Ms Byrne stated that the betting manager then swung at him, and broke his jaw.

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