The claimant in this case was dismissed on foot of a failure to follow a recommended safety procedure. The claimant commenced work in February 2005 and there were no difficulties until 22 October 2008, when the claimant left the keys in the delivery truck while making a delivery and the truck was stolen. The claimant had received training in November 2007 in relation to the company’s operational procedures, where vehicle security was highlighted as of paramount importance. The company decided to dismiss the claimant based on the seriousness of leaving the keys in the vehicle. The vehicle was later recovered but goods worth €3,000 had been stolen. The claimant appealed the decision to dismiss him through an internal appeals procedure, but it was upheld.
The Tribunal held that the seriousness of the misconduct must be measured in the context of the employee’s act and not just in the context of its consequences for the employer. The reasons for an act must be considered and put into the context of the employment and the employee’s responsibility. The Tribunal took note of the fact that the claimant had never received any prior warnings with regard to misconduct.
The Tribunal emphasised its role as assessing whether or not the decision to dismiss was within the band of responses which a reasonable employer might be expected to take having regard to the particular circumstances. The Tribunal concluded that a reasonable employer would not have dismissed the claimant for such an act of misconduct, serious though it was, in light of the claimant’s unblemished record. The penalty of dismissal was found to be disproportionate to the misconduct, and considering the claimant’s own contribution to his dismissal, compensation of €26,500 was awarded to the claimant.