INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation No. BC228/96 concerning the demotion of a worker.
2. The dispute before the Court concerns the Company's decision to re-grade a worker for disciplinary reasons. The worker concerned was re-graded from Grade 3 to Grade 2 and re-assigned from the Customer Relations Department to Ground Operations.
The Company claims that the worker was disciplined as a result of a serious breach of regulations concerning the use of Company telephones for personal purposes and because of one incident in dealing with a customer. An appeal by the worker against the Company's decision was rejected by management.
The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On 3rd July, 1996 the Rights Commissioner recommended as follows:-
"In the light of the above I must uphold the fairness of the employer
in its dealing with the worker. However, should the worker, after
12 months in his new position apply for any advertised vacancy
within the organisation then the employer should consider the
worker's application and give it due consideration, taking into
account his previous good record."
The worker was named in the Recommendation.
The Rights Commissioner's Recommendation was appealed by the Union to the Labour Court on 9th July, 1996 under Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on 1st October, 1996.
3. 1. At no stage in the proceedings did the worker attempt to mislead the Company. He acknowledges that he used the Company telephone for personal reasons but refutes the Company's claim of wrong-doing in respect of his dealings with the customer.
2. The Company has treated the worker unfairly. He has given the Company 8 years loyal service. In the circumstances management's actions in re-grading him were harsh and unnecessary and caused considerable disruption.
3. The Union is concerned that the worker's loyalty and honesty have been called into question. He never intended to solicit any personal gain from his dealings with the customer.
4. The worker has apologised for any confusion that may have arisen in relation to his dealings with the customer.
4. 1. The worker was disciplined as a result of serious breaches of Company Regulations concerning the use of Company telephones.
2. The worker has had, and availed of, full access to all internal and external procedures. At no time throughout this process has he been treated unfairly by the Company.
3. The worker's behaviour amounted to unethical and unprofessional conduct and the penalty imposed was found to be reasonable by the Rights Commissioner.
Having considered the submissions and examined the oral evidence the Court has concluded that the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation is not unreasonable and should be upheld with a rider that at the end of 12 months satisfactory service the episode be removed from the file.
The Court rejects the appeal and so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
21st October, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Fran Brennan, Court Secretary.