Key Learnings

In this case the Employer did not apply any process to the termination, nor did they create an objective justification for the act of termination. In any case of unfair dismissal, the Adjudicator will assess the merits of the case on both the substantive grounds and procedural grounds. Where there is a purported change to the terms and conditions of employment these changes cannot be unilaterally imposed, and it is essential to engage in consultation regarding these changes. If the changes are of such significance that could alter the contractual arrangement any grounds of termination must be objectively justified and if the resulting impact could lead to the role being at risk of redundancy then it is incumbent on the Employer to engage in a procedurally correct process that includes placing the role at risk, engaging in meaningful consultation with the Employee, examining all alternatives to the risk of employment before making an informed decision regarding a possible termination of employment and ensuring that an appeal to any such decision is provided. Natural justice also includes the option of a representative being made available. In this case fair procedures did not apply and the grounds justifying the dismissal were non-existent.


The Complainant complained that she had been unfairly dismissed. She commenced employment as a housekeeper with the Respondent in November 2001. She moved to Ireland as part of the ambassador’s household and, as such, her employment contract included a ‘room and board’ clause.

Summary of Case

In November 2020, the Complainant was informed that, due to budgetary concerns, the Respondent had terminated its lease agreement for the Embassy and would be moving to smaller premises. Accordingly, the Complainant would no longer be provided with a room. This occurred in March 2021.

As the new residence did not have enough space to house Employees, the Respondent proposed updating the Complainant’s contract with the removal of the room clause but with an increase in salary, or a friendly termination of the contract. The Complainant did not accept the Respondent’s offers and accordingly her contract was terminated on 27 July 2021.


The Adjudicator noted that this was an “unfortunate situation” as it was clear that the Complainant was a highly respected Employee, and the Respondent did not want her to leave employment. The Adjudicator also held that after the decision to move, the Respondent did put forward good faith proposals to address the Complainant’s concerns. However, the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2015 (“UDA”) provides that every dismissal of an Employee will be presumed to be unfair unless the Employer can show substantial grounds justifying the dismissal. To justify a dismissal, an Employer must show that it resulted from one of the following causes, or that there were other substantial grounds for the dismissal: (a) The capability, competence or qualifications of the employee for performing the work which he was employed to do; (b) The Employee’s conduct; (c) Redundancy; (d) The fact that the continuation of the employment would contravene a statutory instrument.


In this case, the Adjudicator held that nothing put forward by the Respondent justified the dismissal of the Complainant. Furthermore, an Employer must also show that they followed fair and proper procedures before dismissal. There was a near absence of procedures in this case. The dismissal was therefore unfair both as a result of there being no reason for the dismissal and being procedurally unfair. Taking into account the fact that the Complainant found alternative work seven months after her dismissal, the Adjudicator awarded €21,793, amounting to seven months’ pay.