Carndonagh DJ awarded 26,000 euro

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A former Carndonagh radio DJ has won his claim of unfair dismissal against his former employer.

Steven Lynch, Straths, was awarded 26,000 euro by the Employment Appeals Tribunal, which ruled his employer’s behaviour justified his resigning and claiming constructive dismissal.

Mr Lynch had been employed by Highland Radio from 14th March, 2004. Initially, he presented part-time before being offered a more permanent role. As he was initially concerned he could not afford to take on the role, due to the distance and the fact he would have to give up his other job, it was proposed he also take on a sales role in Inishowen. For this, he earned commission and also had the use of a company car from Monday to Friday.

In 2013, his list of customers was reduced from 40/50 to 15 and then completely removed that April. The company car was also removed, increasing his travel expenses. Mr Lynch told the tribunal he could not afford to make ends meet and had no choice but to resign on April 24th, 2013 giving one months notice.

Mr Collins told the tribunal that in 2012 a new marketing manager, John Clancy, was employed. It was decided Mr Lynch’s client number would be reduced as he was not bringing in enough revenue. He said Mr Lynch approached him with his concerns regarding his depleting salary and removal of his car and customer list. He informed him he was handing in his notice which Mr Collins forwarded to the directors Tim and Gerry Rabbitte. He said he spoke to Mr Lynch to try to persuade him to remain but he would not and refused an offer made to him. Mr Collins said no higher amount was suggested and he had nothing further to negotiate with. Mr Lynch put a figure to the respondent, the amount required for him to remain but it was suggested his resignation be accepted.

Mr Clancy said he had tried to help Mr Lynch with sales and that the 15 clients amounted to 75% of his sales revenue. He said Mr Lynch didn’t object when they were removed.

Mr Tim Rabbitte said he met with Mr Lynch and told him he’d like him to stay but couldn’t meet his demands for 10 hours of broadcasting. He said he offered him 450 euro but felt Mr Lynch had his mind made up to go. He said he felt it was a pity to lose Mr Lynch and added he expected Mr Collins to negotiate but felt he had other issues.

Mr Gerry Rabbitte said they had started with an offer they thought was fair, moved as far as 450 and also additional monies for fuel but Mr Lynch never came back with anything but his original salary.

In their determination, the tribunal stated there was a fundamental breach of contract in allowing the accumulation of losses which led to his income being very significantly reduced without his agreement.

They added that having heard evidence of the loss Mr Lynch’s attempts to find alternative employment was mainly limited to broadcasting and was too restrictive an approach in the climate that prevailed at the time. They awarded 26,000 in compensation.

Additionally, it determined that as it was a case of constructive dismissal and the claimant left his employment, working out four week’s notice, the claim under the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act 1973 to 2005, fails.