The claimant worked for the respondent company which owned a nightclub. He was sispended and dismissed following an incident in the nightclub. He took his case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
The Tribunal heard evidence from a witness called by the respondent that the claimant had been rude and aggressive to a customer late one evening and indeed had headbutted him after being called “an old man”. Evidence was also called to prove that the claimant had insulted a friend of the witness by calling her a “specky four eyed b****”.
The claimant stated that on the night in question the lights came on in the nightclub and he was in the restaurant area. He saw a man jumping up and down on the seats. He and two security men approached the man and the group he was with. He shouted at the man to get down and he was ignored. The claimant stated that he did not headbutt the man and “was not in the habit of hitting young kids”. When asked to comment on the assault he said it was a total fabrication, and added “they were not pleased because they were being ushered out before they had consumed all the drinks they had purchased”. As the drinks were expensive he understood their annoyance. When asked if he had called one of the group a “specky four eyed b****” he replied “that is not a term that I would use I would never say that”.
A day or so after the incident the claimant was contacted by the Managing Director to inform him that allegations had been made against him and that he was suspended. He never returned to work.
It noted that there was a total conflict in evidence between the two parties but that in all the circumstances the procedures of the respondent were “deficient”.
The EAT referred directly to the following in its reasoning:
•The written statements of the witnesses for the respondent were not shown to the claimant prior to his dismissal;
•The written statements were in fact drafted some considerable time after the event in question;
•The tribunal was at a loss to understand the non-appearance of a key witness for the respondent;
•It was clear that the claimant was neither appraised of, nor was he made fully aware of, all the allegations against him.
The EAT found in favour of the claimant awarding him €45,000 under the Unfair Dismissals Acts.
Case: Employee v Night Club Owner, Employment Appeals Tribunal
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