Sleeping security guard gets nearly €2k after firing procedures not followed

A man who worked as a security guard during the construction of the N6 between Athlone and Galway and was fired when he was found asleep in his car by a supervisor in the early hours, was awarded a total of €1,860 at the most recent sitting of the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Athlone which found he had his job terminated without due process.

Paul Konosonuk, with an address given at 23, Whitebeam Avenue, Athlone, was employed from June 7, 2008 by Cairborne Trading Limited, Racecourse Business Park, Ballybrit, Galway, a firm which supplied security guards to a contractor on the N6, a works site which was 50 miles long at the time.

On the night of August 29, 2009, Konosonuk was employed as a stationary security guard in an area where mobile plant was stored when not in use at night.

A supervisor from Cairborne had a problem in establishing contact with Konosonuk who did not answer his mobile phone, but he gave evidence this was because the battery in his phone had gone flat.

The supervisor asked a van patrol guard to investigate, and the tribunal heard that when he got to Konosonuk’s location around 4am, he found him asleep in the reclined passenger seat of his car with a blanket or quilt and a pillow.

The van patrol guard was unable to wake him, informed the supervisor of this, and a nearby colleague was asked to get Konosonuk to phone the supervisor when he was awake.

The supervisor went to the location at around 6am by which time the claimant, who had not made contact as instructed prior to his arrival, was awake. Konosonuk denied having been asleep and accused the van guard, who arrived shortly after the supervisor, of lying when suggesting that he had been asleep.

The supervisor told Konosonuk to finish his shift and that it was his last day. After reading the supervisor’s report, Cairborne’s operations director concurred, and decided not to roster him from that point on, and issued Konosonuk his P45 in August 2010.

At the hearing, the members of the tribunal accepted the claimant had been found asleep, and that had proper procedures been applied: “it may have resulted in a charge of gross misconduct being sustained against the claimant. [However] this was a dismissal without any, or fair, procedure and as such is automatically unfair”.

Konosonuk was awarded €1,500 for unfair dismissal, and a further €360 for one week’s pay.


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