Posted: May 23rd, 2018
A new father who was sacked by his employer just 11 days after the birth of his new-born baby, while on paternity leave, has been awarded €2,461 in unfair dismissal compensation by the Workplace Relations Commission.
During a work meeting on 12 January 2017 the man, who was employed as horticulturalist was told he was being made redundant – directly after his boss congratulated him on the birth of his baby. He was then asked to clear his desk and leave immediately.
The man took an action for unfair dismissal and the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has upheld his claim and ordered his former employer to pay €2,461. WRC Adjudication Officer, Pat Brady has described the employer’s conduct in the case as “seriously unacceptable”.
The compensation figure awarded would have been higher if the man had remained unemployed for a longer period of time. However as he was diligent in seeking a new job it meant that his precious employer was not liable for as much compensation.
The man pointed out to the WRC hearing that any termination during on paternity leave is automatically found to be unfair on foot of section 20 of the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act, 2016. The employer claimed that he was not aware that the employee being on paternity leave was an issue and the business decision to make the man redundant was due to a re-organisation of the company.
WRC Adjudication Officer, Pat Brady said that the employer in the case had adopted a cavalier attitude to the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act.
Mr Brady said: “Then, in circumstances which could scarcely have been more insensitive, he was given one day’s notice of a meeting at which his employment is terminated and he is told to leave the premises and not to return.”
He added: “However, it is the total absence of any procedures which is of more concern; the lack of proper or any notice, the lack of a selection procedure or consideration of alternatives.”