nap time Security guard contracted to Deutsche Bank Dublin sacked after nodding off on the job
The security firm accepted that it did not pay Mr Evans his notice and he was awarded €1,123
A security officer contracted to work at Deutsche Bank’s Dublin offices was sacked for gross misconduct after he fell asleep on the job over a 90 minute period.
At the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), Adjudicator, Niamh O’Carroll has thrown out Philip Evans’s unfair dismissal claim and a separate claim that Mr Evans was dismissed when penalised for raising a health and safety issue concerning his job.
In her findings, Ms O’Carroll found that Mr Evans was dismissed by Interserve Security (First) Ltd trading as First Security “due to the fact that he was sleeping on duty on the night of January 6th 2020 and for no other reason”.
Ms O’Carroll said that she found no nexus between Mr Evans raising the effect working on the night shift was having on his health and wellbeing and his dismissal.
The security firm accepted that it did not pay Mr Evans his notice payment and Ms O’Carroll found that this part of Mr Evans’s claim is well founded and awarded Mr Evans €1,123.
Concerning the ‘sleep’ incident, Mr Evans had four days rest prior to commencing his shift on January 6th 2020.
Mr Evans commenced work at 18.47hrs and between 19.41 hrs and 21.33hrs the firm stated that Mr Evans was observed sleeping by CCTV while sitting at the main reception desk.
The security firm told the WRC that at one point the motion sensor lights went out due to lack of movement in the area.
A shift supervisor called Mr Evans on the reception desk phone, but he did not answer.
The shift supervisor went over to reception and asked Mr Evans if he was feeling unwell, but he responded by saying 'no I'm just tired'.
The security firm stated that during the time Mr Evans was asleep at the front desk the MD of the bank was still present in the building.
The security firm stated that despite the shift supervisor speaking to Mr Evans, he twice fell back asleep once the supervisor had left.
As part of his case, Mr Evans denied the sleep allegation and stated that the video the security firm relied on does not show his eyes being closed, but even if they were this is not proof that he was asleep.
Interserve Security (First) Ltd stated that it takes any allegation of its employees sleeping whilst on duty extremely seriously and over the last five years or so a number of its staff have been dismissed for sleeping whilst on duty.
The security firm stated that the contract between it and Deutsche Bank “is an extremely robust one”.
The firm stated that as one would expect, Deutsche Bank is extremely strict on security and engages security officers to act as a deterrent to intruders, and it expects all staff working at the Bank to be vigilant at all times.
The security firm’s contract with the bank has a zero tolerance approach towards any staff sleeping whilst on duty due to the assets that they help protect.
In dismissing Mr Evans’s unfair dismissal action, Ms O’Carroll found that Mr Evans was seen sleeping while sitting at the main reception desk and that the security firm had substantial CCTV of Mr Evans taken over the period of 90 minutes.
Ms O’Carroll stated that Deutsche Bank’s zero tolerance policy on the issue is a reasonable one taking into consideration the type of institution the security firm is engaged to keep secure.
Ms O’Carroll stated that she could find no flaw in the process that could render the dismissal or the findings unfair.
Ms O’Carroll stated that taking into account the seriousness of the allegation, in conjunction with the security firm's onerous contractual obligations to their client, she found that the decision to dismiss Mr Evans was well within the band of reasonableness.
In advance of the disciplinary hearing planned for January 31st 2020, Mr Evans obtained an offer of security work elsewhere.
He informed First Security of that and requested that the disciplinary process be halted so that he could depart from the company on good terms and get a reference.
He stated that the company did not accede to this request and insisted on going ahead with a disciplinary hearing.
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