INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY O'MARA GERAGHTY MCCOURT SOLICITORS)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Complaint regarding investigation procedures into alleged harassment.
2. The worker, an employee of An Post has requested the Labour Court to investigate a complaint, that alleged harassment of her in the workplace in 1998 was not satisfactorily dealt with by the Company. The Company conducted two separate investigations into the complaint, one in 1998 and the other in 2002. In each case, it was concluded that the evidence did not support the worker's view that she was bullied. The worker is unhappy with this outcome.
The issues could not be resolved at local level. The Company did not consider it necessary to refer the matter to a Rights Commissioner for investigation. The worker referred her complaint to the Labour Court on the 4th November, 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 29th January, 2004.
3.1 The employer's investigation and report are procedurally and substantively flawed.
2. The investigation team did not provide the worker with the opportunity to challenge witnesses. It did not provide her with notes and documentation of interviews with witnesses.
3. The worker recommends that the Labour Court set aside the investigation team's report and refer the matter to a Rights Commissioner.
4.1 The complaint has now been investigated on two different occasions and the outcome was the same in both cases.
2. A thorough investigation into the complaint was carried out in accordance with the Company's Bullying & Harassment Policy.
3. The second investigation in 2002 was carried out by an experienced investigation team. Members of the investigation team have undertaken professional training for the role.
4. The Company has acted in a fair, reasonable and compassionate manner at all times in dealing with the worker's complaint.
The Court has examined in detail the claim before the Court that a complaint of harassment in the workplace has not been satisfactorily investigated by the employer.
Having considered all aspects of the claim the Court is of the view that the investigation carried out by the employer in July 2002 into an allegation of harassment made by the claimant in her letter dated 12th February 2002 was not carried out in accordance with the Code of Practice,Procedures for Addressing Bullying in the Workplace,(S.I. No. 17 of 2002). Accordingly, the Court concedes the claim that this issue should be investigated by a Rights Commissioner and the Court recommends that the procedures from the date of this recommendation should incorporate S.I. No. 17 of 2002.
Therefore, the Court recommends that this matter should be jointly referred to the Rights Commissioner for recommendation under the Industrial Relations Act, 1969.
The Court notes that the organisation's policy on Bullying and Harassment is due for review in light of the new codes of practice, which have been published since this policy was introduced.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th February, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.