INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Alleged harassment, intimidation and discrimination.
2. The dispute was first heard in the Labour Court on the 9th of December, 1999. At the hearing, the worker's side claimed that the worker was subjected to harassment, intimidation and discrimination as a result of his candidature for the position of General Officer in SIPTU. This resulted in:-
(a) his removal as Branch Secretary of the Hotel, Restaurant and Catering Branch
(b) denial of promotion of the position of National Industry Secretary (1997) and Regional Secretary (1998).
It was decided at the hearing that an independent investigation should take place, and this issued as the 'Clarke Report', in July, 2000. Following the report, the worker's side states that point (a) above is no longer in dispute and that the issue now in dispute is point (b).
The Clarke Report found that the employer's behaviour towards the worker was unacceptable. The findings were accepted by the employer, which believes that there are no further issues to be dealt with.
In May, 1997, the employer advertised vacancies for the position of National Industrial Secretary. The worker was one of 15 applicants. He was informed on the 18th of September that he was unsuccessful. It was at the same meeting that the worker was asked to consider relinquishing his position as Branch Secretary of the Hotels, Restaurant and Catering Branch and transferring to the position of Branch Secretary No. 2 Branch, Clerical and Administration. This request was later rescinded.
In April, 1998, the employer advertised 2 Regional Secretary positions. The worker applied for the position but was unsuccessful.
A reconvened Labour Court hearing took place on the 3rd of May, 2001.
3. 1. The Clarke Report stated "that there is overwhelming evidence that SIPTU behaved in a fashion, the conduct of which falls far below what would reasonably be expected from a professional organisation." The Report shows that the worker refused to be bullied and intimidated by the Officer Board in 1994.
2. The worker had long experience with the ITGWU and SIPTU since 1977 and was highly qualified for the posts he sought, (details supplied to the Court). He was punished for expressing views contrary to those of the Officer Board. He has adhered at all times to the policies and rules of SIPTU.
THE EMPLOYER'S ARGUMENTS:
4. 1. The employer co-operated fully with the Clarke investigation and accepted the findings of the Report.
2. The employer rejects any suggestion of discrimination in relation to the filling of posts of National Industrial Secretary and Regional Secretary. The selection process in place is equitable and fair.
3. Promotion in the organisation is via competition. The interview process covering all the posts was very thorough and in all cases included the presence of an external expert to aid the interview panel.
At the instigation of the Court, the original hearing of the case was adjourned to allow a more comprehensive investigation of the allegations made to be carried out in accordance with the agreed procedures in the organisation. That investigation was carried out by an agreed independent investigator who issued a report on the allegations of harassment, intimidation and discrimination by the employer.
The Court accepts that a full and thorough investigation was carried out and that the resultant report dealt with the allegations made. The Court notes that both sides accepted the report - the complainant indicated that this "report is a full and accurate account of the issues in dispute." The report concluded that the employer "behaved in a fashion the conduct of which falls below what would reasonably be expected from a professional organisation".
The Court is of the view that, in recognition of these findings, the employer should pay £5,000 (6,349 Euros) compensation in full and final settlement of all claims before the Court.
The complainant has referred a residual issue back to the Court for final adjudication; this refers to the employer's treatment of him when he applied for two promotional posts in 1997 and 1998. The complainant alleges that the interview panel held an imported bias, which negatively affected his chances of promotion.
Having examined the selection procedures used by the employer for promotional positions, the Court is satisfied that the procedures used for the two promotional posts in dispute were fair and transparent and that the allegations made are not confirmed by the evidence given.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
8th June, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.