GP faces €40,000 severance payment to receptionist of nearly 50 years after failing to ‘engage’ with her

Receptionist says she got no response from doctor when he closed down family surgery, WRC told

When the clinic closed, the receptionist applied for a redundancy payment and got 'no response'. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

A doctor is facing a €40,000 severance payment to a receptionist who said she got no response from him when he closed down the family surgery, where she had spent nearly 50 years working.

It follows a ruling by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) upholding a complaint under the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 by the worker, Margaret Dunne, against general practitioner Dr Declan Scanlon, who had a medical practice in Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Ms Dunne told the employment tribunal she originally started work at Dr Scanlon’s surgery in March 1973, when it was run by his late father.

She worked there “continuously” until the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, when she stayed home on foot of medical advice. However, she explained she had no success when she started trying to return to the workplace in July 2021 as Dr Scanlon failed to “engage” with her.


Ms Dunne later learned from a colleague that Dr Scanlon intended to close the practice in October 2022 but heard nothing directly from the doctor about terminating her employment or paying her redundancy, the complainant told the tribunal.

When the clinic closed, she applied to Dr Scanlon for a redundancy payment and again got “no response” and no redundancy certificate, it was submitted.

Ms Dunne was represented by the South Leinster Citizens’ Information Service in the case at a hearing in April this year. Dr Scanlon entered no appearance, and the case went ahead in his absence.

The commission had made “various attempts” to contact him, the adjudicator, Marguerite Buckley, wrote.

She recorded in her decision, published on Wednesday that Dr Scanlon had closed the practice due to “ill-health”.

Ms Buckley wrote that the “uncontested evidence” before her showed the business had “ceased trading”.

She ruled Ms Dunne was entitled to statutory redundancy on the basis of “practically 50 years” of service from April 1973 to October 2022, less her break in service between March 2020 and July 2021, and gross weekly pay of €473 – a sum of approximately €40,000, based on the statutory formula.

“The calculation of the lump sum is a matter for the [Department of Social Protection] and is subject to the complainant’s PRSI payments,” Ms Buckley added.