McDonnell v. Dublin Airport Authority plc UD1899/2011, RP2481/2011

Facts

Dublin Airport Authority employed the claimant as a cleaner. In 2009, the claimant was diagnosed with a serious illness and thereafter accrued significant sick leave. Evidence was given that the claimant’s GP had advised that the claimant was fit to return to work on a phased basis. However, attempts by the HR department to obtain a return to work date from the claimant were not successful. The claimant also refused to attend occupational health services and then resigned on 6 April 2011. Dublin Airport Authority had in correspondence asked the claimant to reconsider his position. However, the claimant did not engage and refused to cooperate and claimed constructive dismissal.

Held

The EAT noted that the core of the case was the refusal of the claimant to adhere to the norms of practice of Dublin Airport Authority and throughout industry, in particular in relation to accompaniment at meetings with management by a trade union representative or work colleague. The EAT accepted evidence that the company had tried everything possible to resolve the issues, including setting aside company policy and agreeing to the claimant’s father’s attendance at meetings. The EAT found that the claimant refused to engage with the respondent’s procedures set out in its policy and noted that the claimant had developed a certain intransigence with regard to facilitating meetings towards a solution to the problem. In these circumstances, the EAT found that the claimant did not establish grounds for constructive dismissal and therefore the claim failed.