The WRC (Workplace Relations Commission) has determined that it was fair to dismiss a HR Professional based on her conduct. The employee in question was dismissed after it emerged that she had entered her own bank account details on a maternity benefit form relating to another employee.
The form was apparently submitted to the Department of Social Protection. It appears from the determination that the relevant social welfare benefit was then transferred to the HR professional's personal bank account.
The Complainant apparently gave evidence that she had mistakenly entered her own bank details, rather than those of the company, on the form and that the relevant payments were later made into her account. The determination indicates that the Complainant subsequently discovered the error and disclosed it before returning the money in question.
The HR professional was suspended on full pay pending an investigation and was subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct. After hearing the subsequent case under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, the Adjudication Officer noted that:
"there were flaws in the suspension and investigation as advanced by the complainant’s representatives. The omnipotence of the head of Human Resources was an additional concern up to the point where she signed the letter of dismissal. However, these were not of the magnitude to render the dismissal unfair."
Having expressed some disquiet about the issues identified above, however, the Adjudication Officer went on to find in favour of the employer, stating:
"I accept that the dismissal was within the range of reasonable responses open to this employer faced with the conduct of the complainant.
The dismissal while regrettable was fair and not disproportionate."
The determination in the case (A Human Resources Practitioner v A Marketing Company, ADJ-00020660), dated 29th May 2020, has recently been published on the WRC's website.