INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
A.D.M. LONDIS LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR831/98/CW.
2. The dispute concerns a claim by the worker that he was discriminated against in relation to promotion. The worker also claims that he has been subjected to bullying and that the Company has allowed this situation to continue.
The Company rejects the allegations. It claims that (1) promotion within the Company is based on merit with due regard to seniority and (2) that the person responsible for the bullying was issued with a written warning.
The worker referred the dispute to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. A Rights Commissioner's hearing took place on the 14th of January, 1999 and on the 19th of February, 1999. The following is the Rights Commissioner's recommendation:-
"I recommend that the worker accepts his failure to be promoted last July and August was not a form of active harassment by the Company."
(The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's recommendation).
The worker appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 21st of May, 1999 in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 6th of August, 1999.
3. 1. It is custom and practice in the Company to promote workers on the basis of seniority.
2. The worker has over twenty years service with the Company and has the necessary skills to perform higher duties.
3. The Company has failed to adequately address the worker's complaint concerning harassment in the workplace.
4. An investigation carried out by an independent consultant into a complaint of workplace bullying vindicated the worker's claim.
5. The worker is seeking compensation for the harassment and the loss of overtime earnings.
4. 1. Promotion in the Company is based on merit. Seniority is only considered where two or more candidates are of equal merit.
2. The worker did not invoke the grievance procedure with the purpose of putting specific allegations to the Company.
3. The worker concerned did not apply for a supervisory position in 1989 when it became vacant.
4. Following a complaint of bullying by the worker, and subsequently verified by a report from an independent consultant, the Company initiated disciplinary action against the person responsible.
5. The Rights Commissioner's recommendation exonerated the Company from the allegations of harassment.
The Court finds a number of aspects of this case very disturbing. A commitment given by the Company to pay compensation had not been honoured, and the Company's continuing arguments that the bullying allegation had not been processed through the normal channel, despite written evidence that this had been raised with management on several occasions.
However, on the issue before it, which is the appeal of the Rights Commissioner's recommendation concerning promotion, the Court is satisfied that in both cases where the claimant failed to be promoted, the successful candidates would appear to have had the edge on experience in similar roles.
The Court, therefore, does not support the appeal and upholds the Rights Commissioner's recommendation.
In doing so the Court strongly recommends to the Company that it address the allegations of bullying which have clearly been put before them, as a matter of urgency, and the allegations made in Court about favouritism in supervisory training. (The Court notes the Company have not responded to the Court's request for information on this issue).
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
24th September, 1999______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.