The Employment Relations Authority has upheld an employee’s personal grievance claim of unjustified dismissal and ordered an employer to pay over $24,000 after making the employee’s position redundant.

The employee had a signed written employment agreement with the employer, which provided that she was to work on a casual basis. The employee would usually work at least 30 hours a week for the employer.  

Issues arose between the employee and a co-worker, and soon after the employee’s hours became irregular. These changes in the employee’s work schedule made her stressed and caused her anxiety.

The employee requested a meeting with the employer to discuss her issues, but this never took place. After this request, the employer sent a letter to the employee, outlining that due to economic issues, her position was no longer necessary and she was therefore going to be made redundant.

The employee was given four weeks’ notice, but she left a week later for more stable employment. She then raised a personal grievance claim of unjustified dismissal with the employee.

When dismissing an employee, an employer must act fairly and reasonably in the circumstances. This includes undertaking a fair dismissal process, including keeping the employee informed and considering employee feedback regarding the dismissal.

In this case, the Authority decided that a reasonable employer should consider all employment alternatives before proposing redundancy. For example, employers may consider retraining, job sharing or redeployment.

The employer was also required to keep the employee informed about the redundancy and provide an opportunity for her to give feedback, which they failed to do. The Authority determined that these failures constituted an unjustified dismissal.

The Authority decided that the employee had been unjustifiably dismissed and ordered the employer to pay $7,380 in lost wages, $1,457 in wage arrears and $500 in penalties for breaching employment standards. The employer was also ordered to pay $15,000 in compensation for the hurt and humiliation caused by its failures.

There is an important process which must be followed when dismissing an employee. If you are confused about this process, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors