Thursday 21 February 2019

Dismissed lecturer shown no humanity, tribunal told

Mark O'Regan

THE Dublin Institute of Technology failed to "show humanity" after it gave a science lecturer with five years' service just two weeks' notice that she was to lose her job, a tribunal heard.

Noelle Cunning, from Co Dublin, had worked in the school of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences department.

She had joined the teaching staff in December 2006.

She was to replace a permanent member of staff who took a five-year career break to pursue consultancy work.

Dr Michael Gary Cox was scheduled to return to his teaching post at the beginning of the academic year in September 2011, but requested that he returned on a "half-time" basis instead. His proposal was accepted by the institute and it was agreed he would hold a "job-sharing" position with Mrs Cunning.

The tribunal heard she was offered a "specified purpose" contract, which was scheduled to run for the duration of the academic year.

"She would cover half of the post and he would cover the other half," said Professor Declan McCormack, head of the school of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences.

However, two months later Mr Cox informed the institute that he wished to resign from his job – but agreed to remain in his post until the end of November, so he could "complete his teaching duties".

In the same month, Mrs Cunning received a letter to inform her that because the "substantive post holder" had resigned, she would be made redundant in two weeks' times.


Mrs Cunning, who is seeking compensation, was told the reason for her dismissal was because "the staff member, whose hours you have been covering, has resigned".

"The institute unilaterally terminated her employment, having no regard to her professional competence and standing and the needs of your dissertation students," her legal representative told an Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin.

The Dublin Institute of Technology denies the claims and the unfair dismissal hearing was adjourned until next month.

Irish Independent

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