INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
BANK OF IRELAND
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr McHenry
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Alleged bullying and harassment.
2. The worker has been employed as a porter with the bank since the 15th of May, 2000. He was on probation for six months.
The bank states that the worker was spoken to in August, 2000, in relation to his work performance. As a result of further performance issues which arose, the bank decided to initiate its disciplinary process on the 13th of February, 2001.
The worker alleges that he was bullied and harassed in his employment by his immediate supervisor.
As a result of the worker's complaint, it was agreed between management and the Union to appoint an outside consultant with experience in industrial relations matters to investigate the complaint.
The consultant concluded, following his investigations, that there was no basis to the worker's claims of bullying and harassment.
The Union 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 6th of November, 2001.
3. 1. The worker had no need to resort to subterfuge as he had Union representation which proved the bank to be unfair and inconsistent.
2. The bank were deliberately looking for reasons to dismiss the worker and this point should have been pursued by the investigator.
3. The recommendation of the consultant was flawed. It was based on incorrect assumptions on the worker's character and motivation for making his complaint.
4. Just because other people did not regard themselves as being bullied does not mean that the claimant was not bullied.
5. The consultant erred in his findings which were based on personal opinion, a misunderstanding of bullying and a misunderstanding of the profile of people who could be bullied.
4. 1. The worker only raised the issue of bullying and harassment when he was advised of his work performance.
2. The bank accepted the findings of the investigation into the allegations of harassment and bullying. The report concluded that the complaint was "entirely unsubstantiated and without foundation."
3. The bank went to great lengths to ensure that fair procedures were followed with regard to the worker's complaint. This included agreeing to an alternative consultant to that nominated by the bank, to investigate the complaint.
4. The bank put disciplinary procedures on hold pending the outcome of a formal investigation as part of the Bank's Harassment and Bullying Policy.
5. Management is satisfied that the correct decision was made and believes that is has no case to answer with regards to these procedures.
The Court listened carefully to the evidence presented and considered the detailed submissions of the parties to this appeal by the Union of the findings of the agreed independent investigator into the complaint of bullying and harassment. The Court is of the view that the methodology and the investigation were satisfactory. The Court is satisfied that the investigator went through the process in an appropriate manner and that the Bank carried out the process in line with their policy on Harassment and Bullying.
Therefore, the Court rejects the claim and recommends that the findings of the investigation should stand.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
11th December, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.