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Blog  »  March 2024
Mar 24

Posted by
Gemma Pontson

Case Law: Big Fine for Not Providing Employment Documents!

A Dental Technician was awarded over €13,000 after her claims, of not being provided with written employment terms, Unfair Dismissal, and lack of notice pay, were upheld.

The negative consequences of not providing appropriate employment documents were highlighted in this recent Workplace Relations Commission case (ADJ-00034847).

The complainant, Sarah O’Connor, worked as a Dental Technician for the respondent, Cas Dental. 

O’Connor alleged that she had not received a written statement of her terms of employment, or a disciplinary procedure, or an employee handbook.

The complainant also explained that she did not receive a letter inviting her to the dismissal meeting. The dismissal meeting lasted about a minute. She was not given notice pay or the right to appeal.

Mr Colum Sower, a director of the respondent, explained that he thought he had a period of one year to issue an employment contract and this was his understanding based on advice he had received from the Small Business Association.

Mr Sower gave evidence that he issued the complainant with verbal warnings and a written warning before the dismissal, although there was no final written warning or formal improvement plan.

A notice payment was not made, but the complainant was given a payment for good will.

The respondent accepted the procedure used was not perfect but argued that the complainant had not met the required performance standards and there are serious consequences of not meeting standards in the medical profession.

WRC Decision
The WRC Adjudicator found that the claim of not being issued with written terms of employment was well founded. The respondent was ordered to pay compensation of four weeks’ remuneration to the complainant.

The claim of lack of notice pay was also upheld and the WRC Adjudicator ordered the respondent to pay one week’s remuneration to the complainant.

The WRC Adjudicator concluded that the Unfair Dismissal claim was well founded.
There were breaches of the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures, including no opportunity for representation at the dismissal meeting, and serious procedural flaws. The Adjudicator concluded that no reasonable employer would have dismissed the complainant in the circumstances and in this manner. The respondent was ordered to pay €12,000 compensation to the complainant.

Takeaways for Employers
It is essential to comply with the legal requirement to provide employees with written terms and conditions of employment within the required time limits. The excuse of receiving incorrect advice was not accepted by the WRC Adjudicator.

Bright Contracts clients can quickly and easily create legally compliant terms and conditions of employment using the step-by-step instructions in our software.

It is also important to understand legal obligations relating to notice pay.

Bright Contracts includes a legally compliant template contract clause about notice.

Finally, failure to follow reasonable procedures can result in serious consequences. In the O’Connor v Cas Dental Case, the respondent suffered reputational damage and was ordered to pay significant amounts of compensation.

Bright Contracts has a ready to go Employee Handbook which clients can tailor to their requirements. Policies and procedures are reviewed and updated in line with employment law changes and recommended practices.

Posted in Contract of employment, Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law, Workplace Relations Commission, WRC