In Veronique Amato Gauci Vs EMD Advisory Services Limited, dated the 20th February 2014, Amato Gauci claimed that the termination of her employment was unfair and not based on a valid reason.
The applicant started working for the respondent company in 2008 as an Administration Manager on an indefinite full time contract. On the 12th October 2010 she felt unwell and left from work. She was later certified by her doctor who suggested she takes some time off work. Amato Gauci in fact informed her employers that she was indisposed and was asked to use her vacation leave as opposed to her sick leave. On that day she received a letter in which she was informed of the termination of employment.
The Tribunal established that the applicant was employed in a position which required various responsibilities which make the person essential to the company. She had been occupying this position for over two years, and more importantly since the establishment of the company and carried out her work efficiently, which efficiency was in fact recognised and awarded through bonus extra in her salary as well as notes of appreciation and gratitude.
Over time the company expanded its operation and increased the number of employees. Therefore, the work load of the Administration Manager increased significantly. The Tribunal noted it was evident that Amato Gauci was definitely under a lot of pressure at work. The company on the other hand brought forward the issue regarding Amato Gauci’s alleged negative approach, where she always felt she needed to defended herself and provide reasons for her actions.
The Tribunal cannot understand how through a two year long employment with a year long probation period, she was never informed that her approach was in fact leading to situations which were not acceptable. It would have been more professional had the company changed the applicant’s position or suspended her temporarily from employment to assess the gravity of the situation.
Although it has been stated that this negative approach subsisted throughout the duration of the employment and had in fact started from the very beginning this does not add up to other proof obtained. The tribunal stated that the applicant had the right to defend herself (audi alteram parte) and adequate direction should have been given to her to improve her behaviour.
The tribunal notices that throughout her employment history, the applicant was always employed she has now unemployed for a long time, and at the same time appreciated that there might be various reasons which led to this; her age, the lack of qualifications, as well as the situation she is in because of this termination.
While taking into consideration all the circumstances of the court as conveyed, the Tribunal decided that the termination from employment of the applicant was unjust. In this context and taking into consideration her age and type of employment, the real damages and loss, the tribunal awards a compensation of €58,320 from which any benefits received as Social Security due to her unemployment had to be deducted.
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