A security guard has won a second pay claim after the Workplace Relations Commission heard he was forced to resign from his job because his employer continually failed to pay him correctly, even after it was ordered to compensate him in a previous case.
“The evidence and submissions in the case indicate a degree of wilful disregard for the law,” adjudicating officer Pat Brady wrote in a decision just published.
Bernard Meehan, a security guard who had worked at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin under a series of contractors since 2004, secured orders against Secureway At Risk Security Group under the Payment of Wages Act and Regulation 10 of the European Communities (Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations last October.
He had complained that the company had failed to honour his existing terms when it took over his employment and made unlawful deductions from his wages by stopping payment of a shift allowance worth €42.12 a fortnight – and also failing to pay him for overtime.
Mr Meehan was awarded redress and compensation totalling €3,020 for the various breaches.
But at a hearing into a fresh round of statutory complaints under the same acts last month, Mr Meehan’s trade union Siptu told the WRC that the company “had not implemented” the October 2021 decision.
As the non-payment of the allowance had continued past the first hearing, the union lodged fresh complaint forms in July 2021 and June 2022.
Mr Meehan resigned from the company on May 27th this year “due to the failure of his employer to pay him correctly”, the union told the WRC.
“There is no doubt that the complainant had been in receipt of the fortnightly payment of €42.12 for 14 years and it was very clearly a part of his terms and conditions of employment,” Siptu told the tribunal.
It argued that there had been a new breach of the transfer of undertakings regulations in respect of the fortnightly payments due between January and July 2021.
Adjudicating officer Pat Brady noted in his decision that the employer had been represented in October, but its agent “took no part in the hearing, nor did he make any submission on the matters in dispute”.
“That was one step better than the current case where no representative of the respondent was in attendance in any capacity,” he wrote.
Mr Brady wrote that the complainant had made his case for the continuation of the payment under his new employer, and ordered the firm to pay the outstanding sum of €547.56.
“They appear to have demonstrated a degree of, at best indifference to, and at worst disrespect for their legal obligations in their actions and for the decision of the WRC,” Mr Brady wrote.
He added that the firm had “refused to engage” with Mr Meehan’s union, failed to implement the decision in the previous case, and failed to attend the present case.
“The evidence and submissions in the case indicate a degree of wilful disregard for the law,” he wrote.
He ordered Secureway to pay Mr Meehan a further sum in compensation of about four months’ pay, €8,000 for the breach of the Regulations.
It brings the total sum awarded to Mr Meehan against his former employer to €11,567.56.