Diamond firm ordered to pay €43,625 after unfair dismissal of worker

Shannon-based industrial diamond maker Element Six has been ordered to pay €43,625 in compensation for the wrongful dismissal of an administrative clerk.

In his findings, Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Arbitrator Kevin Baneham found that Gráinne
Element Six Ltd’s dismissal of Loonam was unfair as the dismissal was not genuine and did not follow fair procedures.

Ms Loonam was due to return to work around the time of her release from maternity leave in May 2020.

Mr Baneham also noted that “the redundancy was completed in a very short time and the urgency is not clear”.

“Most importantly, there was a vacancy for which the complainant was well suited but was never considered,” he explained.

Ms Loonam’s maternity cover was given further work at Element Six and Eflexes employment agency and took up a new role on May 11, 2020, while Ms Loonam was “maneuvered out of her employment” and “the dismissal was unfair,” Mr Baneham said.

Ms Loonam made impressive efforts to find alternative employment but failed to find a new job, he said, and she “did not contribute to the dismissal and tried to mitigate her loss in every way”.

Mr Baneham said the compensation of €43,625 was equivalent to 18 months’ wages.

Ms. Loonam worked for Element Six between May 2014 and May 28, 2020. She was represented in the case by David O’Regan, BL, who was retained by Kate McInerney, Michael Houlihan & Partners Solicitors. Mr Baneham explained that Mrs Loonam has many strings on her bow. She had worked at Element Six as a personal assistant to a senior manager and also held positions in finance, accounting, administration and human resources.

Ms. Loonam was employed by an agency, Eflexes, and assigned to work with Element Six, the results said. She was informed on May 8, 2020 that she was being fired and Ms Loonam was clear she would “fight it”.

On the same day that the email was sent to department heads asking if there was an alternative to saving Ms Loonam’s employment, her maternity leave replacement was “offered a contract for a new role, a role for which the complainant was never considered”.

“This new role served as a replacement for the maternity leave of a family member of the agency head,” Mr Baneham said.

Element Six submitted that Ms. Loonam’s employment ended lawfully as a result of redundancies, particularly the travel restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, and that a full and fair consultation process took place.

Eflexes’ Mairead McKenna told the WRC hearing Ms Loonam’s role was redundant due to pandemic-related travel restrictions and that Element Six departments said there were no vacancies.

https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/diamond-firm-ordered-to-pay-43625-after-unfair-dismissal-of-worker-42249161.html Diamond firm ordered to pay €43,625 after unfair dismissal of worker

Fry Electronics Team

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