INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
WESTERN CARE ASSOCIATION
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
1. Alleged discrimination.
2. The Association is a voluntary body providing a range of services to children and adults with mental handicap/learning difficulties in Co. Mayo. It is funded mainly by the Western Health Board.
The worker is a registered psychiatric nurse who has been employed by the Association since 1981. In 1989, the worker was asked by management to take on the post of Senior House Parent at the Riverside Centre. In 1992, management decided to fill the post on a permanent basis, and the position was subsequently advertised. The worker applied for the post but was unsuccessful.
The matter was referred to the Rights Commissioner who recommended that the worker should "continue to receive 60% of the extra remuneration she enjoyed whilst filling the promotional position i.e., £300 per annum".
Following the recommendation the worker was employed in the Riverside Centre in a night duty position. The position of Senior House Parent was advertised again, in February and June of 1995. The worker applied for the post on both occasions but was unsuccessful.
The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission and a conciliation conference took place on 5th December, 1995. As there was no agreement reached the dispute was referred to the Labour Court on 4th April, 1996 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Labour Court hearing took place on 12th June, 1996 in Galway.
3. 1. The worker was surprised that she was unsuccessful when she applied for the position in 1992. She had filled the post for 3 1/2 years, and with her experience and background knowledge expected to be successful. The person who was appointed had not worked with the Association before.
2. The person who was appointed in February, 1995 was from outside the Riverside Centre. There were only 2 applicants for the post and the worker concerned was the most appropriate person to be appointed. The candidate who was successful in June, 1995 had never worked with the Association. On each occasion that the worker was unsuccessful, her colleagues were surprised and concerned. The Association had no cause for complaint in regards to the worker since she was appointed in 1981.
3. The worker has felt humiliated by the experience. When the post of Senior House Parent was vacant from December, 1994 to June, 1995 she was not asked to fill it, although two less experienced colleagues were asked. The worker was not given an explanation as to why she was refused the position.
4. 1. The Association refutes the allegations of discrimination. Many other permanent staff applied for promotion during the period in question and were unsuccessful. The position was advertised in 1992 as per the Company/Union Agreement. The worker had been receiving £500 per annum in her acting position in the post. She retained 60% of this when she left the post.
2. On the subsequent occasions that the workers applied for the post, the Association used a properly appointed interview panel which showed no bias towards any candidate.
3. The Association facilitated the worker when she applied for night duty in 1992, and also when she applied for job-sharing in 1993. She subsequently withdrew the job-sharing application. The worker's present income is £2,000 more than she would receive if she held the position of Senior House Parent.
The Court has considered all of the views of the parties and the subsequent information made available.
In all the circumstances, the Court finds that the employee here concerned was not discriminated against and, accordingly, does not recommend concession of the Union's claim.
It is the view of the Court, however, that the claimant has been a long serving, valuable employee and the Court recommends that the management have discussions with her with a view to assisting her to develop her career.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th September, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.