Security guard sacked after missing break-in due to 'mobile phone addiction'
The man sued for unfair dismissal over his continuing use of his phone, but the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has deemed the decision fair and that substantial grounds existed for his dismissal. At the time of his sacking, the man was on a written warning after missing a break-in on CCTV cameras in December 2015 as he was looking at his mobile phone at the time. His employer, a property service support company, is family-owned and was established in 1966.
The man was stationed at a high-profile client of the firm in December 2015 along with 52 colleagues who were engaged in security or cleaning duties. The company said there was a substantial breach of security when the man failed to observe on CCTV and react because he was found to be on his phone at the time and not monitoring the cameras. The company claimed that the man was fully responsible for missing this break-in and he could have lost his job at that time.
However, in an effort to try to help him and give him a second chance, it decided instead to issue a final written warning and told him of the possible future threat to his employment because of his mobile phone usage. The man had been employed as a security guard for nine years, but six months after the December 2015, incident in June 2016, the site operations manager and a team leader came across him with his phone beside him. The phone was lit up as it had just received a text message.
The site operations manager asked if he was using his phone and he confirmed that he had been. As a result, the firm took disciplinary action and the man was sacked in August 2016. In his ruling, WRC adjudication officer James Kelly said he was satisfied that the role of a security guard requires full and concentrated attention and this is of paramount importance in the industry within which the firm operates.
Mr Kelly said he was also satisfied that the firm went to great lengths before the incident to give the security man an opportunity to change his behaviour.