INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CORK ARTS JOB INITIATIVE
(REPRESENTED BY JOHN J. MURPHY, SOLICITORS)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Keogh
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. 1. Fair procedure 2. Investigation and compensation.
2. In January, 2003 a dispute between the Union and the Company, concerning the alleged bullying and harassment of a worker at his place of employment ,was the subject of a Labour Court investigation and recommendation. In LCR 17415 which was issued in February, 2003 the Court recommended as follows:
".Having considered the submissions made, the Court is not satisfied:
- that a proper investigation has been completed by the employer following a complaint of bullying and harassment.
- that the claimant was interviewed in relation to his complaint or afforded the right of response in relation to inputs by others on this matter.
In addition it would appear the organisation does not have a policy or procedures to address complaints of this nature.
The Court, having considered the information available to it, finds the claimant's request for an independent investigation of his complaint of bullying and harassment to be reasonable in the circumstances.
The Court, therefore, recommends that the complaint of bullying and harassment made by the claimant be investigated by an independent third party.
In the event of this recommendation not being accepted by the parties the Court will, on request, reconvene to hear submissions on the claim of bullying and harassment."
On the 21st March 2003 the worker referred a complaint to the Labour Court, under Section 20 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969, that the Employer failed to implement LCR 17415. The worker agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. The Employer's legal representative informed the Court that the Company had discontinued trading and employees had been declared redundant. The Employer declined an invitation to attend the hearing. Prior to the hearing the Court received correspondence from a group of artists, relating to the dispute, who had worked with the claimant. A Court hearing was held in Cork on the 11th June, 2003.
3. 1. A formal written complaint was made by the claimant. He has been on uncertified sick leave for "stress related illness" as a result of this ongoing situation.
2. The Employer did not, and still does not have a policy or procedure in place to address issues of this nature.
3. The Employer has refused to comply with the Labour Court's recommendation that an independent investigation take place.
4. The claimant has been refused any good practice or procedure with his concerns and the Employer has denied him a fair hearing.
5. The claimant has been further disadvantaged by being made redundant.
6. The claimant has been denied access to his place of work, removing his livelihood and suffering professional and financial loss.
7. The claimant has been receiving counselling for over two years to enable him to cope with this ongoing situation.
8. The Union seeks appropriate compensation for the claimant.
The Court was notified by Solicitor's letter that the above Company had wound up its affairs and discontinued trading.
No representative attended the Court hearing on behalf of the Company, but the Court did receive a letter in relation to the case from a group of artists who had worked with the claimant.
In the absence of the employer the Court considered the written and oral submissions made by the claimant.
Having considered the information before it the Court is not satisfied that a proper investigation was completed by the employer in this case.
The Court finds it unsatisfactory that the complainant was not interviewed by the management in relation to his complaint. It is further concerned that repeated requests for information in relation to alleged complainants by others about the claimant, were ignored, as was the Labour Court recommendation for an independent third party investigation.
The Court finds that the claimant was denied natural justice in this case and treated unfairly.
The Court, therefore, recommends that the Company pay the claimant €3,000 in compensation.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd June, 2003______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.