INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
FILM INSTITUTE OF IRELAND
(REPRESENTED BY MATHESON ORMSBY PRENTICE)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY A & L GOODBODY)
1. Refusal by the employer to interview the worker for the position of Head of the Irish Film Archive.
2. 1. The worker is employed as Archive Curator with the Film Institute of Ireland (FII). She is one of six Heads of Department. The FII is staffed by approximately twenty permanent staff and thirty FAS employees.
2. The worker commenced employment with the FII in January, 1986 and in 1992 was appointed to the position of Archive Curator. On the 17th May, 1996 the FII advertised for the post of "Head of the Irish Film Archive".
3. The worker claims that the job description of the post advertised was identical to her own . She indicated to management that she wished to be considered for the post as Head of the Irish Film Archive and submitted her Curriculum Vitae.
4. The FII returned the worker's Curriculum Vitae stating that it was a misrepresentation of the worker's position within the organisation. The worker insisted that she was Head of Department with responsibility for the Irish Film Archive and re-submitted her application unaltered. When the worker was called for interview it was indicated to her that it was on the basis that the advertised job was a "new position" and that the interview could only proceed on this basis.
5. The worker rejected this assertion and as a result the interview board refused to continue with the interview.
6. As no agreement was possible between the parties the worker referred the dispute to the Labour Court under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. The Court investigated the dispute on the 7th October, 1996.
3. 1. The new appointee has taken over many of the functions previously undertaken by the worker. As a result, the worker has suffered a significant erosion and alteration of her terms and conditions of employment.
2. The worker claims that her pay does not reflect the level of managerial responsibility involved.
3. The worker seeks to be confirmed in the position as Head of the Irish Film Archive which she has held since 1992 and with a salary of £25,000 as advertised by the Company.
4. The job description of the recent appointee should be withdrawn and amended to ensure that the worker retains the existing functions, responsibilities and duties which she has performed.
5. In a report,( on the Irish Film Archive) commissioned by the employer in August, 1996 the worker was commended for her achievements in developing the Irish Film Archive to international standards.
4. 1. The worker was appointed as Archive Curator at a level operating below that of senior management. She was not promoted above this position.
2. The responsibility of the Irish Film Archive has always rested with the Director of the Film Institute until the recent appointment of the new Head of Archive.
3. It was made clear to the complainant in 1994 that the Film Institute's long term plan was to appoint a Head of Archive when it became financially viable.
4. The Director of the Film Institute discussed with the worker her limited qualifications for a more senior position within the organisation. The worker was offered the opportunity to attend third level education, but this was rejected.
5. It was clarified with the worker that the position she would be interviewed for was a new position as Head of Archive, which was a different position to that of Archive Curator. The worker refused to accept that the Head of Archive was a new position.
6. The position of Archive Curator is a middle management position with supervisory responsibilities. The position of Head of Archive is a senior management position with responsibility to develop, expand and promote the Archive. The two positions are completely different. This is reflected in the significantly higher salary paid to the Head of Archive.
The Court has considered all of the information put before it by the parties in their oral and written submissions.
The Court finds that in its' experience it has rarely found an employee treated so unreasonably by an employer as in this case. The actions of the employer the Court finds have done nothing to improve or maintain the morale of "a valued employee" (to use the words of the institute) and are not conducive to maintaining or improving the morale of other staff or to creating a healthy climate of industrial relations.
The Court recognises that in a conversation with the claimant in 1994 it was intimated that a senior archive appointment would be made when the necessary resources became available.
In the event the creation of this post did not arise until 1996. In her term of employment and from 1994 to the time of the senior appointment the claimant carried out the duties outlined in her job description including attending management meetings in the institute and external bodies. From the evidence put forward she carried out these duties in an exemplary manner, a fact attested to by many who had dealings with her.
The Court finds that the claim that she only carried out the duties and responsibilities under the direction of the Director is an attempt to undermine her status in the organisation. The Court is fully aware and recognises that the ultimate direction and responsibility for the running of the organisation rests with the Director. In this case the Court finds that the claimant's reporting and responsibilities were no different to those of the other head's of department.
The Court finds that the claimant over the years acted in the role of head of a department and was treated as such by staff and others outside of the organisation.
The Court finds that there was no conclusive evidence that the claimant was an "officer" of the institute.
A document to this effect was made available and, the Court notes, was included on the agenda of the Council of the institute at one time but was never discussed or adopted by the Council.
The Court in this respect finds that the salary of the claimant was not significantly out of line with the heads of two other departments.
The Court finds that when a decision was made to make a senior appointment and the position was advertised the institute treated the claimant with disturbing disrespect. Given the work carried out over many years by the claimant and the job description being considered by the institute for the new post the Court finds no effort was made to consult with her or to clarify how the new position would relate to or impact on her role in the organisation.
The Court finds that the organisation treated the claimant most unreasonably with regard to the manner in which they dealt with her application for the new post and her "interview" for this post.
The management and the Council were aware that a dispute existed regarding the duties of the new post and those of the claimant yet no effort was made to reconcile the situation. The management merely sought to have the claimant concede to their point of view, notwithstanding the obvious conflict between the duties proposed for the new post and the duties being carried out over many years by the claimant.
At the time of the interview the interview panel were fully aware a dispute existed.
They however sought at this time to have the claimant concede to the management point of view and when concession was not forthcoming they ended the interview thus unreasonably denying her an opportunity to compete for the post.
The Court has noted the institute states the post is a new one and different to the post held by the claimant. However, from the evidence given and the job descriptions provided the Court finds that much of the work being carried out by the new appointee, whatever may have been the intentions of the institute in regard to this senior post, is the work previously carried out over the years by the claimant
Given the unreasonable manner in which the claimant has been treated the Court recommends that immediate steps be taken to redress the hurt and humiliation which she has suffered. To this end the Court makes the following recommendations:-
1. That the institute, in consultation with the claimant and, should she so desire, her representative, clearly define the distinct roles of the two posts, any such clarification not to interfere with the duties being carried out by the claimant heretofore and contained in her job description (pre the description for the new post).
She should be given a letter clearly defining the above and re-assuring her of the ongoing permanence of her position.
2. That in the light of her role and duties within the institute that her salary be advanced to £18,000 with effect from the date of issue of this recommendation.
3. That in respect of the hurt and distress caused that she be paid a lump sum of £1,000.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd December, 1996______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.