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Pub manager who believed employer had sway over gardaí awarded €25,500 for constructive dismissal

The man had his salary immediately docked by €10,000 after pointing out accounting irregularities on the part of his employer.

Gardaí has said there is a crisis of confidence in An Garda Síochána Source: Rollingnews.ie

A MAN WHO had his salary cut by €10,000 with immediate effect after pointing out accounting irregularities by his employer, and who believed he had been threatened by his employer’s ability to influence gardaí, has been awarded €25,500 at the Workplace Relations Commission.

The man took his grievance to the commission after resigning from his employment in June 2016.

The man had been working as a floor manager for the respondent on and off for 10 years. Due to his high standing with his employer he was offered a new position, at a salary of €55,000, at a pub venue in Leinster in October 2015.

He stated that upon commencing work at the new venue he found that things were “in a terrible state”.

He pointed out that purchases and rebates at the business weren’t being logged correctly in the company’s profit and loss account – for example, if an item cost €20 it might be put through the books as having cost €40. As such, the business was performing at a loss per those accounts, when in his opinion it was making a profit.

Rebates

In particular, when raising the matter of rebates, he claimed he was told “how dare you bring that up, there are no rebates”, by the venue’s operations manager, who he perceived to be very angry at the time.

In the aftermath of that meeting, a number of issues had led to the man’s resignation. He intercepted an email which stated that he was not to be cc’d on any correspondence going forward, which led to him feeling isolated.

He was brought into a meeting in 2015 in which a personal injury action against the venue was being discussed. At that meeting, he claimed a method of mitigating that claim was discussed, which would involve the venue’s HR manager, who was a former garda, having the person taking the action “pulled over” by gardaí.

The complainant felt that the only reason he was asked to attend this meeting was to show him that the company had “the power to manipulate members of An Garda Síochána and that if he didn’t comply, he would be next”.

The following month, the man noticed that his calls were being ignored by his colleagues. A new manager was subsequently employed, whom the complainant was informed would be operating as the general manager.

That new manager told the complainant that he was underperforming and that his salary was being reduced by €10,000 to €44,000 with immediate effect as he was still on probation.

Probation

The complainant felt that it was unfair that he be expected to work probation as he had been employed by the respondent for many years.

He subsequently spoke to the owner about the issue, the response to which was: “Are you alright in the head?”

The man was so upset by this comment he went to see a doctor and left his employment on unpaid stress leave.

He officially resigned in June 2016.

The HR manager in question, the former garda, formed the bulk of the respondent’s case.

He “strongly refuted” the suggestion that he “had control over the gardaí and could arrange to have people pulled over”.

In considering the complainant’s claim for constructive dismissal, the WRC adjudication officer stated that it was clear that, prior to raising his suspicions of financial irregularity with the business, the man had been held in high regard by the respondent, and that thereafter that attitude had noticeably changed.

They said that it was also clear that, in appointing a new general manager mere days before the complainant’s salary was unilaterally reduced, it was clear that the decision to demote him had been made prior to his ‘so-called performance review’.

On foot of this, the officer found the claim for constructive dismissal to succeed.

The adjudicating officer also found a claim for loss of wages due to the complainant’s salary being reduced to succeed.

Accordingly, he awarded the complainant €25,500 in compensation.

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