O’Reilly Stewart have acted on behalf of a distribution company in respect of a claim of an unfair dismissal brought by two former employees.
The Claimants were brothers with long-standing continuity of service with the Respondent. Both Claimants had a history of absenteeism, timekeeping issues and failure to comply with absence notification procedures. Final written warnings had been issued in October 2017 together with a further reminder in respect of the correct absence notification procedure which required employees to contact their Line Manager via telephone and provide regular updates thereafter.
Over the 2017 Christmas period, both Claimants failed to attend work between 27th December and 5th January 2018. This was during one of the Respondent’s busiest business periods. Despite numerous attempts by the Respondent to make contact with the Claimants, neither Claimant contacted their Line Manager via telephone, contrary to Absence Policy. A text message was received from the Claimants to advise that their grandfather was ill and they would not be attending work.
Upon their return to work on 8th January 2018, neither Claimant provided sick certificates or medical evidence to cover their period of absence. A meeting was held with the Claimants, at the end of which the Claimants were summarily dismissed. The Respondent sent a letter to each Claimant on 9th January 2018 detailing their dismissal and the reasoning for dismissal including the Claimants’ failure to attend work, their failure to follow the absence procedure and their live final written warnings. As a result of these failings, the Respondent deemed the relationship of trust and confidence to be fundamentally and irrevocably broken. The letter offered the right of appeal of which the Claimants did not avail.
By unanimous decision, the Tribunal held that the Claimants were automatically unfairly dismissed however the conduct of the Claimants contributed 100% to their dismissals. No compensation was awarded to either Claimant.