The Workplace Relations Commission has recommended that a warehouse worker dismissed for calling his manager ‘f**k himself’ during a row over wearing a face mask should receive €1,600 compensation for unfair dismissal.
The employee, who was on probation at the time of the alleged incident on 7 July 2021, made a complaint of unfair dismissal against his employer under the Industrial Relations Act.
He disputed the company’s account and said that he never said offensive words directly to his manager.
He told a hearing in April this year that he was loading a parcel from the back of a trailer, which was on a conveyor belt the day before.
He added that it can be “difficult to breathe with the mask on” when doing such “difficult” work.
“Sometimes when workers can’t catch their breath they pull their masks down for a moment to help them breathe,” he said, adding that it is a common practice for people to wear masks under their noses. common practice”.
He added that the shift manager “was walked by at least six people who were not wearing their masks”.[s] properly” to come and talk to him and a colleague in the truck trailer.
The shift manager told them “they had to put on their masks properly; The complainant said that they were telling about Kovid last week.
The shift manager then asked him for a meeting and the complainant refused to leave “unless it was formal with a witness”.
The manager had done “nothing but try” [to] Oppose the situation of the past”, he said.
The complainant said that as the shift manager “stormed” he went to his colleague and said that the manager was picking him up.
The complainant then added: “Will he ever f**k off.”
The complainant said that he felt “loneliness” and sought to complain about the manager.
However, at a meeting convened later that day, instead of being allowed to put forth his grievances, he said he was told that he was being sacked.
He was told that witnesses had told the shift manager to “f**k off”, which he disputed because he said he “never told her directly”, he said.
He said that managers at the meeting told him “there’s nothing they can do” because there was a “zero-tolerance policy for swearing at your boss,” he said.
Solicitor Colleen Cleary, appearing for the company, said the complainant was dismissed for gross misconduct while on probation.
She said the complainant wore her mask “pulled up to her chin” that day – having previously stated at least twice that it was a violation of health and safety protocols.
The complainant “lost her temper and started yelling at her shift manager” and “used vulgar language”, Ms Klee submitted.
Then he “f**k himself” to the shift manager, he said.
Ms Cleary said there was an urgent investigation involving taking statements from staff present at the time, which she said “confirm the defendant’s position”.
The company considered the “level of abuse” and “serious breach of health and safety” gross misconduct, she said.
“The hub manager told the complainant there and then unfortunately, his employment would be terminated immediately,” he concluded.
“I found that due process and fair procedures were not implemented. The complainant was not given the right to a fair trial, or representation, and I believe the complainant was unfairly dismissed,” wrote adjudicating officer Gay Cunningham in a recommendation published this morning.
But she said that the complainant had “significantly contributed” to the dismissal by her “past behavior and attitude towards the defendant’s managers”.
In light of this, he recommended that the company pay the complainant €1,600 as compensation, which is equivalent to four weeks’ salary.
Complaints of dismissal taken under the Industrial Relations Act are heard privately and the Workplace Relations Commission cannot order redress or compensation – only a non-binding recommendation.