INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CAVAN GENERAL HOSPITAL
(REPRESENTED BY NORTH EASTERN HEALTH BOARD)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR 8102/01/TB.
2. The worker is employed as a Porter by Cavan General Hospital. On the night of Thursday 19th July, 2001, the worker was rostered for night duty commencing at 8pm and finishing at 8am on Friday the 20th July, 2001. The worker carries a bleep and his duties involve responding to any bleeps from the wards or other appropriate areas.
It is alleged that on the morning of the 20th July, 2001 the claimant failed to respond to a number of bleeps.
The Union rejects management's claim and states that bleep 143 which the claimant carried was faulty.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. The following is the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation:-
"Having carefully considered the submissions of both parties I have concluded that the investigation which was conducted into the allegations was thorough and fair.
The outcome reflected the facts of the situation as outlined in the submissions of both parties.
I don't see how an independent investigation which was requested can prove any more helpful. Therefore, I do not recommend in favour of the Union's position."
The Union appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Sections 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Court heard the appeal in Cavan on the 29th November, 2002.
3. 1. Bleep 143 carried by the worker on the night in question had indicated a fault on previous occasions.
2. The worker rejects the claim that he failed to respond to his bleeper when it activated on the morning of the 20th July, 2001 or indeed any other occasion.
3. The investigation process carried out by management did not include a statement from the worker's colleague who was also on duty that night.
4. Management's investigation did not include a statement from a member of staff/radiographer grade who required to enter the hospital at 04:09am (Friday morning) and activated the worker's bleep. He responded and let the staff member enter the hospital.
5. The worker has an unblemished record with regard to his work performance and conduct. He feels that the manner of the investigation carried out by management did not fully vindicate him and wants an independent investigation.
4. 1. Following receipt of an incident report by the nursing staff on duty that night, a local investigation was instigated to establish if there was a case to answer.
2. The nature of the allegations in the report raised serious concerns in relation to patient safety and if substantiated would have had serious implications for the worker concerned.
3. The printout of calls made to bleep 143 confirms that attempts were made to contact the porter at the times stated.
4. There is a responsibility on each member of staff who carries a bleep to report any fault to the maintenance department. No fault was notified to maintenance by the claimant regarding bleep 143.
5. Management could not conclusively prove that bleep 143 actually activated and in light of this the worker was informed that there was not sufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations made.
In the circumstance of this case the Court recommends that the matter be regarded as closed on the basis that the complaint against the worker be withdrawn and that he be exonerated from any suggestion of wrongdoing.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
13th December, 2002______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Larry Wisely, Court Secretary.