Date of Adjudication Hearing: 19/09/2019
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Ewa Sobanska
In accordance with Section 39 of the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967 – 2014following the referral of the complaint to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint.
The Complainant referred his claim to the Director General of the WRC on 27th March 2019 alleging that he was dismissed by reason of redundancy, but he did not receive his redundancy entitlements.
The Respondent disputes the claim.
Summary of Complainant’s Case:
The Complainant failed to attend the adjudication hearing to adduce evidence in support of his claim.
Summary of Respondent’s Case:
The Respondent was in attendance at the adjudication hearing to defend the claim.
The Respondent submits that the Complainant’s claim has no basis in law or facts and his assertion that he was dismissed and/or made redundant is incorrect.
The Respondent submits that the Complainant was employed as a general butcher and was an employee of the Respondent until he voluntarily terminated his employment. The Complainant’s claim that he is entitled to redundancy is deliberately misleading and somewhat vexatious as he terminated his employment and did not return to work on his own volition.
The Respondent had two business premises. One in location A and the other, 11 miles away, in location B. Under the terms of his employment the Complainant was required to work in both premises. On 31st July 2018, the Respondent advised the Complainant that she was closing the premises in location B due to an increase in rent and that he would be working in location A. The Complainant subsequently and unilaterally sought to change the terms of his contract. The Respondent made a number of reasonable offers to the Complainant in an effort to retain her employee. The Complainant however refused these offers and advised in August 2018 that he intended to establish his own business, he sought his employer’s assistance in this regard. He then made the voluntary decision to leave his employment.
The Complainant voluntarily terminated his employment, and this is not a redundancy situation.
Findings and Conclusions:
A complaint was received by the Director General of the WRC on 27th March 2019 whereby the Complainant alleged that his former employer contravened the provisions of Section 39 of the Redundancy Payments Act, 1967.
Correspondence informing the parties of the date, time and the venue of an adjudication hearing was issued by the WRC on 4th April 2019. The hearing was scheduled to take place on 14th May 2019. The hearing was subsequently re-scheduled for 16th May 2019 and the parties were notified of same in writing on 18th April 2019.
On 14th May 2019, the WRC received an email on behalf of the Complainant stating that he will not be able to attend the hearing which was scheduled to take place on 16th May 2019 due to his work replacement not being available. The postponement was granted and new arrangements for the hearing to take place on 19th September 2019 were made. The parties were notified of same by letter dated 14th August 2019.
At the outset of the adjudication hearing on 19th September 2019, it became apparent that there was no appearance by or on behalf of the Complainant. I verified that a letter notifying the Complainant of the time, date and venue of the adjudication hearing was issued on 14th August 2019. The Complainant did not engage with the WRC at any stage prior to the second hearing, he did not apply for a postponement and did not indicate any difficulties attending the hearing. I waited some time to accommodate a late arrival.
The Complainant contacted the WRC Information & Customer Service by telephone on 25th September 2019. The Complainant said that he had been trying to contact the WRC for weeks and that he had been waiting 30 minutes to get through to the Information & Customer Service this morning. The Information Officer informed the Complainant that the longest waiting time for a call to be answered this morning was 1 minute and 42 seconds. The Officer also informed the Complainant that, should he wish to do so, he could write explaining his non-attendance at the hearing for consideration of the Adjudication Officer. No further communication was received from the Complainant.
I am satisfied that the Complainant was informed in writing of the date, time and place at which the hearing to investigate the complaint would be held. Having made an application for postponement in respect of the first hearing date, the Complainant clearly was aware of the requirements in that regard. The Complainant did not engage with the WRC prior to the second hearing and did not indicate any difficulties attending the hearing. The Complainant was offered to put the reasons for his non-attendance for consideration by the Adjudication Officer and he did not do so.
Section 39 of the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967 – 2014 requires that I make a decision in relation to the complaint in accordance with the relevant redress provisions under that Act.
Based on the uncontested evidence of the Respondent and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary having been adduced before me, I must conclude that the within complaint is not well founded and I decide accordingly.