INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 26(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1990
GALWAY-MAYO INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
- AND -
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Claim by the worker that he was treated unfairly in a recent interview for promotion.
2. The dispute concerns a worker who is employed as a Lecturer in the Institute. He claims that he was unfairly treated in a recent interview for promotion to the post of Senior Lecturer 1(SL) Teaching Post. In March, 2001 a competition was held for the filling of 23 SL 1 posts at the Institute. The claimant was among 32 applicants interviewed but was not successful. He claimed that the zero marks which he received for academic leadership and overall suitability were totally unjustified. Management rejected the claim. The dispute was referred to the Labour Relations Commission. A conciliation conference was held but agreement was not reached. The dispute was referred to the Labour Court in December, 2003 in accordance with Section 26(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990. A Court hearing was held in Galway on the 18th February, 2004.
3. 1. The claimant has an outstanding record of achievement in teaching, research, consultancy and the fostering of linkages. Under any fair objective assessment it is impossible to see how the zero score for academic leadership could be justified.
2. The process and marks assigned to the claimant were biased and unfair.
3. There is a duty of care on the Institute to either justify these exceptional and extraordinary marks by reference to some external criterion which has been consistently employed, or disown them as indefensible.
4. The marks are an affront to natural justice, and the interview board failed in its duty to adopt fair procedures in the claimant's case.
5. The claimant seeks a recommendation appointing him forthwith to the SL 1 scale, with retrospective effect, and that a provision me made for the damage to his career, reputation and standing among his peers.
4. 1. The Institute accepts that the marks (furnished to the claimant at his request in March, 2003) caused him considerable distress.
2. The selection process for the SL 1 posts was held in accordance with the approved procedures laid down by the Minister for Education and Science.
3. The selection board was perfectly entitled to decide whether staff are suitable for appointment or not.
4. The selection board deemed the claimant unsuitable based on his interview performance on the day. It 's decision was not a commentary on his contribution to the Institute over many years.
It appears to the Court that there are strong grounds for contending that the decision of the selection board, in relation to the marks awarded to the claimant, was irrational. No records were maintained of the interview process and it appears to the Court that it was unstructured and there were no agreed or objectively verifiable criteria against which marks were awarded.
Due to the absence of any records or other reasonable explanation for what is an extraordinary result the Court can only conclude that the process, as it related to the claimant, was unfair. In these circumstances the claimant has a legitimate grievance which should be addressed.
Having regard to the peculiar facts of this case the Court recommends that the claimant should be appointed to a Senior Lecturer 1 post on a super numerary basis, with effect from the date on which he would have been appointed if successful in the competition.
This should be accepted by the claimant in full and final settlement of all claims arising from the competition.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th March, 2004______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Tom O'Dea, Court Secretary.