| 5.1°C Dublin

Unfair dismissal Vet practice ordered to pay €10,000 to manager with 'inflated opinion of her worth'

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Adjudication Officer, Eugene Hanly, found that the office manager contributed to her own dismissal.


 Photo: Leah Farrell

Photo: Leah Farrell

Photo: Leah Farrell

A VETERINARY practice has been ordered to pay €10,000 in compensation for the unfair dismissal of an office manager, who the WRC found had an “inflated opinion of her worth to the practice”.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Adjudication Officer, Eugene Hanly, found that the office manager contributed to her own dismissal from the midlands-based practice.

Mr Hanly stated that this arose “through what appears to be an inflated opinion of her worth to the practice and her working relationships with her colleagues”.

The employer unsuccessfully argued that the office manager was not dismissed from the practice but rather resigned from her position. Mr Hanly found that the vets working in the practice “made it clear that they did not want to work with the complainant” and were "unhappy” with her.

The former office manager had worked at the practice since September 2011 until August/September 2019.

She told the WRC hearing that she has sought employment with limited success. She stated that she secured some part-time work doing relief milking and she placed an add in the local paper offering her services as an administrator.

The long-established veterinary practice has been in business for more than 45 years. There are currently three vets in the practice, which deals with large and small animals in the midlands area.

In the case, the office manager drove to the farm of the vet practice’s owner to tender her resignation verbally on May 8, 2019.

However, 13 days later, on May 21, 2019, the office manager withdrew her resignation verbally to her employer after deciding to stay on when hearing that a colleague had resigned.

Mr Hanly found that the employer sought to reverse the office manager’s withdrawal of her notice after receiving an ultimatum from the professional staff at the practice.

Mr Hanly found that “this amounts to a dismissal”.

He stated: “I find that this dismissal was both substantively and procedurally unfair.”

Mr Hanly stated that the actions of the veterinary practice in the unfair dismissal “reflected an informal approach to management that went wrong”.

In his findings, he concluded that if the office manager’s resignation had been accepted, as alleged by the employer and not withdrawn, “then there would be no need for the vets to pressurise their employer to get rid of her, as she would be going anyway”.

Mr Hanly stated: “I must then conclude that in the respondent’s mind he had accepted her withdrawal, leading him then to terminate her employment, albeit in the guise of accepting her resignation, following the pressure from his professional staff.”

Mr Hanly went on to find that there was a conflict of evidence and lack of clarity in the case.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors

Top Videos