Granby ordered to pay €10,000 to worker unfairly made redundant
Posted on 15th February 2022 at 22:27
Employee claimed she was ‘singled out’ due to earlier altercation with company director
Dublin sausage maker Granby has been ordered to pay €10,000 to a worker unfairly made redundant during a round of cost cutting after it lost a government pandemic subsidy when demand picked up in summer 2020.
The worker had claimed she was “singled out” because of an altercation with a company director at the family firm.
Maria Doyle made a complaint of unfair dismissal to the Workplace Relations Commission against Granby Ltd, Granby Place, Dublin 1, alleging she was improperly made redundant on July 10th 2020.
Granby had denied the claim, insisting its management applied fair procedures and made the role redundant, not the individual.
IBEC employer relations executive Eoin Haverty, appearing for the company, submitted that the company suffered a 40 per cent downturn in business when Covid-19 first hit in Ireland.
At first, Granby was able to avail of the government’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, but the commission heard that by early June 2020 the loss of business had eased to between 20 per cent and 25 per cent and it was no longer eligible for the payment.
It was submitted that Ms Doyle was told at a meeting on June 29th that Granby needed to implement a “rationalisation initiative to drive operational efficiencies and reduce costs”.
The firm’s management told her the sausage department where she worked had been the worst affected area of the business and her job was at risk of redundancy, the hearing was told.
She was given notice on July 3rd, and the company told the commission she appealed without success.
Bébhinn Murphy BL, for the complainant, submitted that Ms Doyle was told Granby was operating under a “last in, first out” policy – but that four other general operatives with less service than she had were kept on.
Ms Doyle said she was “singled out” for dismissal because of a “previous incident involving one of the directors”.
She told the hearing she had proposed switching to the pudding department, where two of the workers were redeployed, but that the firm said she didn’t have the skills required.
It was her case that the company did not inform her that any further training or qualifications would change the selection policy for redundancy applied by Granby.
Evidence was given on behalf of Granby suggesting that there was only one exception to the “last in, first out” policy in the sausage department and that the worker in question was kept on because of particular skills required for his role – pushing a trolley.
“My conclusion from the direct evidence given at the hearing is that this role was not particularly skilled, to the extent where significant training would have been needed for someone coming into the role,” wrote adjudicating officer Hugh Lonsdale in his decision.
“The respondent told the complainant she was not considered for this role for health and safety reasons, which means they did not consider her strong enough,” he wrote.
He wrote that Ms Doyle had suggested moving another worker into the trolley job, but Granby would not consider this even though it would have “allowed them to stay with their stated selection policy of ‘last in, first out’”.
“I do not know if the reason to make the complainant redundant was the altercation with a director,” wrote adjudicating officer Hugh Lonsdale in his decision. But he said he could not rule that the reasons set out by Granby were “not related to the employee concerned”.
“Accordingly, I find redundancy, within the definition given in the Redundancy Payments Act, was not the primary reason for the complainant leaving the respondent’s employment and the dismissal was unfair,” he wrote.
He ordered Granby pay Ms Doyle six months’ salary in compensation for unfair dismissal, valuing the award at €10,400.
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