INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
IRISH BLOOD TRANSFUSION SERVICE
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
AUTOMOBILE GENERAL ENGINEERING & MECHANICAL OPERATIVE UNION,
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Wrongful dismissal
2. The case concerns a claim by the Union for wrongful dismissal of a worker employed by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service after the worker proceeded with a bullying case against a Supervisor within the organisation. The worker had been employed as a 'Donor Attendant' for 10 months and was still on probation.
After a number of incidents the worker formally made complaints to Management on a bullying allegation. A Tribunal was set up to investigate the allegations made. The Tribunal concluded that the bullying allegations could not be substantiated.
The claim could not be resolved at local level. The Union requested that both parties attend a conciliation conference under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission to resolve the dispute. The Board refused to attend a conciliation conference. The Union referred the claim to the Labour Court on the 25th July, 2003, in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. A Labour court hearing took place on the 10th October, 2003.
The Court received a letter from the Board dated 1st October, 2003 setting out its position and indicated that it would not be attending the Court hearing.
3.1 The worker felt that after a number of incidents occurring during the course of her employment,(details of which were supplied to the Court) that she was not being fairly treated within the Clinic and that she was being victimised and bullied. The worker made her feeling known to Management and was informed that there was a policy document on 'Harassment, Bullying and Racism' within the Board.
2. After the worker's complaint was lodged, a tribunal was set up to investigate the allegations. A number of questions were put to the worker by the tribunal and were answered in a very frank and open manner. Questions were asked on incidents that had occurred at an earlier stage These issues had been dealt with at the time the incidents occurred, and no further action was warranted.
3. After the Tribunal's Report had been issued on the bully allegation, a number of meetings took place between Management, the worker and the Union. Following these meetings the worker was dismissed on disciplinary matters.
The Board declined to attend at the hearing held to investigate this dispute, but did provide the Court with a written submission setting out its position. The Court finds it regrettable that the Board did not attend and avail of the opportunity to explain more fully the basis upon which it decided to terminate the claimant's employment.
Having considered the submissions of the Union and the documentation which it provided, the Court has no doubt that the claimant was unfairly dismissed on both substantive and procedural grounds. It appears that the dismissal was inextricably linked to the complaint of bullying which she made and this amounted to victimisation. Moreover, there was a complete denial of procedural fairness in the manner in which the Board dealt with complaints of misconduct against the claimant.
In the circumstances the Court recommends that the claimant be reinstated to her former position and that she be paid compensation in an amount equal to the full salary which she would have earned between the date of her dismissal and the date of which her reinstatement takes effect.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.