INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
RADIO TELEFIS EIREANN
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Claim that the worker failed to achieve promotion due to having previously taken a Labour Court case against the Company concerning alleged bullying/harassment.
2. The dispute concerns one worker who commenced employment with the Company, in the capacity of Security Officer, in November, 1987. In March, 1999, the Labour Court investigated a claim by the worker that, from October, 1994, he had been the subject of ongoing harassment and bullying. The claim was contested by the Company and the Court issued a recommendation, LCR16162, in May, 1999. In February, 2000, a confined competition, within the security section, was advertised for the posts of Security Supervisor (4) and Security Chargehand (4). The worker applied, unsuccessfully, for those posts. He now claims that due to having taken his March, 1999 case against the Company, he has been unfairly treated by the Company in relation to his application for the promotional posts. The claim is denied by the Company. The worker referred the matter to the Labour Court, on the 25th May, 2000, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court carried out its investigation at a hearing that commenced on the 1st August, 2000 and which was concluded on the 24th August, 2000.
3. 1. Appraisals were carried out on candidates applying for the promotions and comprised part of the selection process. The worker's appraisal was carried out by the House Security Officer (HSO) who, at the previous Labour Court hearing, was pro-active on behalf of persons who had been carrying out a campaign of bullying and harassment against the claimant. Those same individuals were themselves appraised by the HSO, for promotion, and were successful.
2. The appraisal document carries considerable weight in the selection process, according to the Company's Personnel Policy and Procedures document (details supplied to the Court). The markings received by the worker and the attendant remarks are insulting and untruthful and are in themselves testament to ongoing bullying and harassment which is aimed at restricting the worker's promotional opportunities both in and outside the Company. In addition, the type of questions asked by the interview board had little or no bearing on security matters.
3. The Chief Security Officer indicated that the worker would "have regrets in going to the Labour Court" with this case. It should be noted also that while those who perpetrated the bullying and harassment have been promoted, those on the receiving end either failed to achieve promotion or suffered a loss of status.
4. The Company has not taken the worker's concerns and fears seriously and has allowed an intolerable situation to continue. The Company, also, has failed to implement Court Recommendation LCR16162 and as a consequence, the worker feels threatened in his place of work. Instead of carrying out its duty of care to all of its employees, the Company is rewarding those who perpetrate acts of bullying and harassment.
4. 1. The worker's application for promotion was dealt with in a fair, open and professional manner. Set criteria were used for marking candidates. Those criteria, while focused on the requirements of the posts, would have general application in other jobs. Of all those who presented for interview, the worker in question ranked lowest (details supplied to the Court).
2. The interview board comprised 3 individuals, none of whom were involved in the 1999 Labour Court proceedings. One member of the board would have been totally unaware of the existence of the Labour Court recommendation, let alone its contents. The worker's allegation in this respect is without foundation and is rejected by the Company as an attempt to bring a respected process into disrepute while ignoring the worker's poor performance at interview.
3. The appraisal document supplied to the interview board by the HSO was not viewed, as is the norm, until after the interview was completed and the interviewers had actually reached their conclusions on the candidate.
A major part of the claimant's submission concentrated on the case he took against the Company, alleging bullying and harassment, and a claim that the Company has not implemented the resulting Labour Court Recommendation.
While the Court would obviously be concerned if the Recommendation had not been implemented, the specific issue before the Court was a claim that, as a result of taking the case to the Labour Court, the claimant failed to achieve promotion.
The claimant particularly refers to the submission by the Company to the interview panel of an appraisal of him without his knowledge, completed by his superior. He believes the appraisal is “an insult and a lie, and is not reflective of his work”.
The claimant argued that he had no chance of being successful given the damaging appraisal form submitted to the panel, that he was unhappy with the type of questions asked by the panel, and that he had been victimised for taking his case to the Labour Court.
Having examined the appraisal form submitted for the claimant to the Interview Panel, the Court is satisfied that it would be very difficult for him to succeed based on the markings and summary outlined. The Court was not satisfied with the explanation given for the ratings made by the HSO and would have major concerns if this appraisal was included in the panel's decision making process.
The Court would be very concerned that appraisals such as the one for the claimant could form the basis of the decision making process in promotion cases, particularly as the Management confirmed that there is no procedure to monitor for bias.
However, the Court was assured by the Interview Panel members present in Court that the appraisal form played no role in their decision, and that they had not seen the form before making their decision. The ranking of applicants had been completed based on the markings received by individuals at their interviews. The panel members further outlined their assessment of the claimant's interview, indicating that he was badly prepared, did not portray that the interview was important to him and had not performed well.
While accepting the assurances given by the panel members that the appraisal form played no part in their decision, the Court recommends that the lack of transparency in relation to those forms be addressed. There would appear to be scope for ambiguity, to say the least in Paragraph 2.11 of the RTE's personnel policy and procedures on this matter.
Having considered all of the information before it, and having outlined its concerns, the Court accepts the Panel members assurance that the appraisal did not form part of the decision not to promote the claimant but that the decision was based on his interview. The Court, therefore, does not recommend concession of the claims as outlined by the claimant in his submissions.
However, the Court finds that the claimant has suffered stress as a result of the appraisal and, accordingly, recommends that the Company pay him £1,000 in compensation.
In conclusion, the Court is concerned that the claimant continues to feel threatened in his work place and recommends that the Company meet urgently with the claimant in order to address his fears, to ensure an acceptable resolution of the situation to the greatest extent possible.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
14th September, 2000______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Michael Keegan, Court Secretary.