In this case, the claimant was employed as a Commercial Director and had been with the company since 1998.
The employer proposed a change in his title and function in early 2004 to Marketing Manager.
The proposed changes were put to the claimant and he was assured that this was a higher position than his current role.
When the claimant asked for a job description this was not available and he was invited to draft his own job description. He drafted this but he did not receive any feedback. As it stood, the claimant had no proposed job description.
At a grievance meeting in July 2004 the claimant was presented with a draft job description. He considered its contents and the informed the Managing Director that he wished to stay on as a Commercial Director. The claimant then wrote to the Managing Director to confirm this and then stated that the employer would have to recruit a Marketing Manager. At that stage, the claimant was covering his own position and the marketing duties.
The claimant stated that he never agreed to take up the Marketing Manager position. He was told on 3 occasions that if he did not accept the new position he could resign.
In August 2004 the claimant received a letter with a proposed memo to be sent to all Regional Managers. The memo named a new Commercial Director and detailed the claimant’s transition to Marketing Manager which commenced the previous January.
The claimant was dismissed later that month.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal considered his claim and determined that the claimant was not in a position to accept the position of Marketing Manager because there had never been an agreed job description. The Tribunal stated that a job description is an essential part of a new contractual relationship between parties.
The Tribunal awarded the claimant €86,000.00 for his unfair dismissal from his position of Commercial Director.
Employers must take great care that transitions like the above are properly handled and documented, particularly in cases of senior positions where the potential is for very high awards indeed.
Case: Malone v Timac Albatross Ltd, Employment Appeals Tribunal