A projectionist who was fired after his bosses accused him of deleting files from a server in a deliberate cover-up after the wrong Matrix film was shown has lost his right to a wrongful dismissal.
Patrons who bought tickets to a screening of The Matrix at Sligo cinema were “extremely angry and angry” when The Matrix Reloaded was shown in place of the first film on the evening of 12 July 2019, according to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC ) heard.
The complainant’s lawyer – John Anderson – said there was no evidence that his client deleted the Matrix file from the server.
Joseph Callaghan, who has worked at the cinema since 1992, denied deleting the files and said other employees had access to the server room.
He lodged complaints against Omniplex (Cork) Ltd with the WRC under the Unfair Dismissals Act and the Payment of Wages Act to appeal against his dismissal by the company in April 2020.
He said that after finding the software keys for the Matrix not working the day before, new keys were ordered from the rental company and provided by cinema manager Mark Foley.
The complainant said he uploaded them as instructed, but the wrong film played that night.
Mr Callaghan said he stopped the film and went to the theater on Mr Foley’s instructions and signed the guests’ tickets as vouchers.
They were “extremely angry and angry,” he said.
Then he checked the server and found that the only movie available was Matrix Reloaded.
Mr Callaghan’s position was that the wrong film was subsequently deleted from the server.
The company said log files examined by the company’s IT department showed that the correct film, the original matrix, had been delivered “well before” the screening and was deleted “shortly after it was discovered that the wrong film was being shown.” became”.
“No evidence has been presented that the complainant actually deleted that film and that other staff had access to the projector room on the night in question, and there is no evidence that the film in question was ever so deleted,” said attorney Mr. Anderson .
The complainant also said he was told the CCTV system showed that nobody was in the server room when the film was deleted.
He said the manager on duty spoke to him the night after the faulty showing and told him about a conversation he had with theater owner Mark Anderson.
Mark Anderson had said Mr Callaghan’s “head would roll for misconduct on the night in question,” it said.
John Anderson, the applicant’s counsel, argued that this showed that “a predetermined decision had been made prior to any inquiry”.
Ciaran Loughran, manager of employer relations at Ibec, said showing the wrong film was “serious and disappointing” for the company.
“The more serious thing was that the error was deliberately covered up by deleting the correct movie from the server immediately after realizing the wrong one was playing,” he said.
The formal inquiry into the matter concluded that Mr Callaghan “in all likelihood had intentionally deleted the film and was not to be trusted”.
The Complainant was terminated on February 12, 2020, with the termination being upheld on appeal on April 6, 2020.
In his decision, sentencing officer Shay Henry noted that the footage showed Mr Callaghan in the server room when the file was deleted when a time delay was taken into account in the CCTV system.
He wrote that the company had reasonable grounds to believe that the complainant had committed wrongdoing and that the dismissal was within the range of reasonable responses.
He dismissed the dismissal protection suit.
He also found that due to the grossly negligent termination there was no entitlement to payment of a termination fee and therefore no violation of the Wage Payment Act.
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