A county Mayo man had his claim for unfair dismissal dismissed in court today after the court found that he had in fact been rightly and justifiably dismissed.
Thomas Clarke (42) of Watery Road, Ballyhaunis unsuccessfully sued his former employers before the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Sniffer dogs used to find worker on shift
Clarke, a former warehouse operative with Green-Fleet Transport, had been dismissed by the transport group on 9 June 2019 due to his extended absences, his failure to comply with safety policies and his inability to provide regular and effective service to the group.
Sam O’Brien personnel officer with Green-Fleet gave evidence to the hearing which was heard by WRC Adjudication Officer, David Murphy.
In his evidence, O’Brien told the hearing,” It took us hours to actually find him so as we could then fire him.
“We knew he was in the building ‘cos he had clocked in but we just couldn’t lay our hands on him to give him his cards.”
O’Brien went on to tell the hearing the company used a team of sniffer dogs to eventually locate Clarke.
Built a ‘Man-Cave‘
“He had converted one of our containers into a sort of a living room.” The personnel executive said. “Jaysus, it was fully carpeted out, and had sofas, soft lights and a flat-screen TV and everything.” He said.
The Hearing was told that Clarke over the past eleven months would clock in each morning then simply disappear for the day into his converted container man-cave where he would spend the time watching daytime television and reruns of Kojak until clocking off time.
It also emerged throughout the hearing that Clarke’s absence from the effective workforce was first noticed when the company reviewed its yearly accident and mishap figures.
“We had a young-student-fella in on a work placement and he reviewed the accident figures for this year compared to the last few years.
“What he noticed that all the previous few years’ accidents were down to Clarke’s stupidity and carelessness.
“In 2018 we had seventy-five accidents but in 2019 we had none. Then somebody noticed that Clarke seemed to have disappeared — he was still clocking in every day but nobody had seen him in months.” The personnel officer said.
In his evidence, Clarke claimed that he was acting in the best interests of his employers by doing nothing.
“I was sick and tired of them giving out to me for crashing into things with me forklift.” He told the court.
“Jaysus those fecking forklifts can be a devil to drive, especially if you’ve had a few beers in you,” Clarke said referring to the numerous times he had crashed into parked trucks, containers and the four times he had wrecked the boss’s BMW.
“And how was I to know that you shouldn’t smoke while topping the fecking thing up with petrol. They should have put up a bloody sign or something.” He said in evidence.
Keeping the Head Down
“No!” he continued, “I figured the best thing for me to do was to keep the auld head down and hide. That way I’d stay out of trouble and wouldn’t have to listen to them constantly giving out to me.”
“So you see,” He said to the judge in fairness I was acting in the best interest of me employers.”
Meanwhile in Ireland understands that Mr Clarke while disappointed that the judgement didn’t go quite his way will not let it deter him from running for a Dáil seat in the next general election. Where else can you sit on your arse sleeping all day and get paid for it?
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