An ex-employee of the St John's Co-Cathedral Foundation instituted proceedings before the Industrial Tribunal seeking compensation for unfair dismissal. The defendant Foundation argued that the ex-employee had committed several breaches throughout the years and that the final action of insubordination on his part had left the Foundation with no option other than to summarily dismiss him.
The Tribunal commented that whilst the defendant had argued that the ex-employee had committed several abusive practices, its reaction towards such alleged abuses had always been lenient. A point worth mentioning is the fact that the disciplinary board which had been set up to investigate the matter had not resulted in any disciplinary measures being taken against the employee. The Tribunal held that the employer cannot first adopt an attitude of being too lenient but then take the sudden decision to terminate employment. The Foundation had also failed in giving the employee the opportunity to defend his case prior to dismissing him, an action which the Tribunal described as hasty and in violation of the principle of the right to a fair hearing.
The Tribunal concluded that the termination was unfair and awarded €23,000 in compensation to the ex-employee, taking into account his age, his length of employment with the Foundation and the fact that his new employment was not of an indefinite duration.
Dr Kirk Brincau and Dr Christine Calleja from Mamo TCV Advocates appeared for the employee.