Fair Dismissal of Airline Check In Operator

For a change, a report on a recent case where the EAT determined that a dismissal of an air line check in operator for breaches of procedures had been fair and the claimant’s appeal against his dismissal failed.

In Case UD27/2013, which was an appeal held over 3 days against a Rights Commissioner’s decision, the EAT said that whilst there were some minor procedural errors in how the matter was dealt with by the employer, such as the employee not being allowed to have a witness present at the initial meeting held with him, they determined that it was fair to dismiss an employee for breaching check in and safety procedures which are of paramount importance to the airline and that the employee had been fully trained in such procedures.

The employee concerned had admitted that he had checked in passengers without the passengers being present and had accepted passport documentation from a third party that was not traveling, as well as failing to charge for excess baggage.  The airline said the employee begged for forgiveness as it had only happened once and he he had only been trying to assist some passengers whose infant was crying, but decided following an investigation and disciplinary process that the employee had breached fundamentally the protocols attaching to his role.

The employee declined the opportunity to adjourn the disciplinary meeting after only receiving witness statements the day before the hearing, as he wanted to get it over with but brought it up in the EAT as a procedural deficiency.

The EAT determined that the employee had failed to follow standard and critical safety procedures in relation to his role and that the dismissal was fair in the circumstances.