INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioners Recommendation IR16274/03/JH.
2. The case before the Court is an appeal by the Company of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation IR16274/03/JH. The worker in question is employed by Bus Eireann as a driver and claims to have been treated in an unfair manner on the grounds that the Company did not investigate his complaints of bullying and harassment by a colleague in a timely and reasonable manner.
The Union's case is that the Company failed in its duty of care to its employee by not following its own procedures in relation to the investigation of the complaints.
The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. Her findings and recommendation issued on the 8th September 2004 as follows-
"Based on the submissions made and for the reasons set out in the foregoing I recommend as follows:
1. That the worker receive €3,000 compensation in respect of the Company's failure in its duty of care to him and the failure of the Company to address his grievances in a timely and reasonable manner from July, 2002, to date including the Company's failure to implement the agreement reached in December 2002.
2. That the complaints made by the worker from July, 2002 until September 2003 be reviewed by a two person investigating committee comprising, one senior manager nominated by the Company and a person nominated by SIPTU / NBRU ( it is suggested that this person be a senior worker representative within CIE who is not employed in the Broadstone Depot.) That investigation to address not only the specific incidents raised by the worker but also the core issue as to whether he is being treated in a manner differently to other drivers within the Broadstone Depot by the named inspector or any other inspector at Broadstone. Any employee of Bus �ireann at Broadstone whom the investigators consider relevant to the investigation to be interviewed by the investigators and all such employees to be advised that they would be expected to co-operate with this investigation. Any appeal of the outcome of the investigation by any party to be to the manager of Human Resources. The second internal investigation team to be in place no later than the four weeks from the date of issue of this recommendation. Responsibility for ensuring that the investigation team is appointed and in place to be a matter for the Manager of Human Resources."
The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation.
On the 5th of October, 2004 the Company appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 9th of December, 2004.
3. 1. The Company has failed to forward, advise or implement any procedures in relation to the complaint of the worker. It has also breached the Safety, Health and Welfare Act 1989 (general applications) Regulations 1993, in relation to its failure to develop an "adequate prevention policy"
2. The Company refused to have the allegations dealt with by an independent third party, and the complaints to be dealt with under proper anti-bullying policy.
3. The Company treated the worker unfairly on the basis that complaints were not investigated promptly if at all and that the worker was expected to work alongside the alleged perpetrator for 11 months before a finding on the issue was given.
4. 1. All complaints made by the worker were acknowledged and investigated. The complaints were dealt with on the basis of being everyday operational issues, not ongoing incidents of bullying and harassment.
2. The driver's actions caused disruption to services, resulting in a poor service to the public and additional costs to the Company.
The Court has considered the submissions of the parties to this appeal. The Court has also considered the detailed findings and conclusions of the Rights Commissioner.
It is clear from those findings that the Rights Commissioner conducted a careful and thorough investigation of all issues involved in the case. The Court is satisfied that the Rights Commissioner accurately assessed the material facts and that the conclusions, which she drew from those facts, are reasonable. Accordingly there is no basis upon which the Court could disagree with those conclusions or otherwise interfere with the Rights Commissioner's recommendations.
Accordingly, the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is affirmed and the Company's appeal is disallowed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
30th December, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.