LAST YEAR ALONE, WE COST COMPANIES LIKE YOURS OVER €1 MILLION IN PAYMENTS TO DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEES!
SO WHY AM I TELLING YOU ALL THIS?
Because I've seen good companies being penalised too often for relatively minor infringements of employment law. Acting for employees, you can usually understand why the employer felt the need to get rid of some of them. Sure there are unscrupulous employers out there, just like there are unscrupulous employees. But, in the main we find that employers are generally pretty decent people, just trying to earn a buck.
To find out more call us on 1890 88 90 90 or fill out the form above.
YOU COULD SAY WE'VE SEEN THE LIGHT (ALTHOUGH SOME MIGHT SAY WE'RE MOVING TO THE DARK SIDE!)
You see, over the last eight years, we've pretty much seen it all - we know every trick in the book. We've represented employees in the Employment Appeals Tribunal, the Equality Tribunal, the Rights Commission Service, the High Court and the Labour Court. We've met judges, barristers (both junior and senior counsel), Tribunal Chairs, Rights Commissioners, Equality Officers, Adjuducators, Winners, Losers The Cook, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker.
We've fought cases under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, Equality legislation, Data Protection Acts, Breach of Contract, Payment of Wages. We've taken injunctions and prevented dismissals, negotiated settlements and compromises and achieved significant compensation awards costing companies just like yours a lot of money.
A client of ours was dismissed by his employer, a well-known chain of hotels, for "allegedly" head-butting a work colleague at the staff party. We took on his case, although having viewed the CCTV footage provided to us under the Data Protection Acts, we weren't particularly confident. However, following three days of hearing in the EAT, our client was awarded compensation of his unfair dismissal of €35,000.
Now in his former employer's case, they've not only been stung for €35,000, but they've also spent at a Tribunal, not to mention legal fees and the disruption to their business having their HR Director, General Manager, Head of Security and others at the hearing and away from their jobs for three days. Who knows what the intangible impact on morale and in particular to all those involved. We made the HR Manager look pretty silly in cross-examination when she was ridiculed for not knowing or admitting to know the importance of fair procedure. She was humiliated. And I'd venture to say, even considered her position.
Of course, a little bit like Nazis we would say we were just doing our job, putting our clients's best case forward. But in reality, our client probably didn't deserve that money.
In another case, we persued the owner of a pub who had sacked our client after he had verbally attacked a customer in the carpark. The employer admitted that he was rash and that he didn't follow a great procedure but argued that he was only trying to protect his business. It was the middle of the recession, times were tough - the last thing he needed was his staff attacking customers. Our client also admitted he was wrong, the customer had been an acquaintance who owed him money. And yes, he accepted that he had argued with her and that he may have used abusive language; shouting across the car park at her when she was in company. The EAT gave him €7,500.
We've had sleeping security guards, porters who wouldn't lift patients, incompetent postmen, warehouse operatives who refused to work and things are only getting worse. Even, Luas drivers looking to be paid the same as junior doctora - that's the tip of the iceberg!
Recent changes to the Employment Landscape have also made the defence of claims more complicated.
We know of solicitors who won't take on employment cases because of their complexity. And that's fine - if only all solicitors were this self-aware, but we come across many who aren't, who simply lead their clients down a blind avenue, oblivious to the dangers. In the new regime you can no longer sit back and wait for the hearing and hope things will pan out. Written submissions are now required at the front-end. You can no longer wing it as many solicitors or HR Representatives have done in the past.
So who do you want defending you?
Do you want to rely on some guy who has never set foot in the Labour Court?
Or an expert who is known there!
We've dealt with Arthur Cox, William Fry, A&L Goodbody, Matheson and Mason, Hayes & Curran in the last year alone. We have also dealt with the mid-tier boutique firms like Daniel Spring & Co. Beauchamps and Byrne Wallace. All excellent firms but we can only assume that they are very costly. One of the Big Five sent a Partner and Associate to Galway to fight a case against under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act. The cost of coming from Dublin to Galway for the day for two senior fee earners must have been astronomical. And following two days at the hearing, the case was settled on terms which if offered a week earlier, would have saved everyone a lot of money.
We don't charge you an obscene amount of money for the "privilege' of defending you. We know of one Dublin law firm who charged their client (an International blue chip) in excess of €200,000 from defending an injunction we took against them on behalf of our client. The company eventually settled with our client for €185,000. That was a net cost to that employer of €385,000. In another case we were involved in, a "Boutique" Dublin firm charged our client €75,000.. for a Rights Commissioner hearing before we ever made it on to the stage.
Now let's get something straight, litigation is expensive and as an employer, you're more often than not going to lose. But, it is as much about damage limitation and negotiation as fighting a losing battle.
We're certainly not saying we've some silver bullet that's going to make all of your problems go away, that there's some magic dust that we'll sprinkle and get you out of any scrap regardless of culpability. But we are saying that we can protect you from some of the horror stories mentioned above. No firm is infallible, but why pay a Dublin firm €500 per hour when you can get local expertise at a much more reasonable cost with as much, if not better experience.
Today more than ever it is crucial that you have proper employment and HR procedures in place for protection.
Disgruntled employees, dismissed staff, business re-organisation or even NERA (the National Employment Rights Agency) can all lead a business to experience significant loss in terms of time, focus and of course serious cost implications. And, as in the above examples, this can be the case even when we think we have done nothing wrong!