INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
HEALTH SERVICES EXECUTIVE
SOUTH EASTERN AREA
- AND -
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. A. Compensation for loss of earnings; B. compensation for stress; and C. written apology from Management.
2. The Worker has been employed with the Health Services Executive (HSE - South East) Region since 13th February, 1997, and has been assigned to Wexford General Hospital since 2nd October, 2000, in a Grade III Secreterial post. She was assigned to the Cardiology Diagnostic Department (CDD) in December 2002. She took over from the Secretary who had received the two-day training course on the new TOMCAT system. The Worker missed the initial training session. Management decided that she would be trained over a longer two week period by the Secretary prior to her leaving.
Following a series of allegations of bullying and harassment by the worker, Management conducted an independent investigation as per procedures. A report issued by the Independent Consultant, on the 9th May, 2005 concluded:-"I have not upheld any of the complaints of the Worker against her colleagues. I believe that her abilities did not meet the needs of that very particular post".He further stated "I have seen no evidence that she has not performed satisfactorily in the past and presumably could do so again".
The Worker claims that due to problems with the lack of proper training and bullying and harassment which, caused stress and ill health she was unable to perform her duties properly. She has been on sick leave since 27th April, 2004, and she is seeking compensation for loss of earnings, compensation for stress and a written apology from Management. The worker is also seeking to be re-instated to the permanent position allocated to her and to be given the same training and support as the other CDD Secretaries.
The Worker referred her claim to the Labour Court on the 12th November, 2004 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 2nd August, 2006, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3.1 The Worker claims that she was under-resourced and overworked in her post at the Hospital. She further claims that the Hospital did not provide her with reasonable facilities nor adequate training for her position in the CDD Unit despite her continued requests for same.
2. The Worker believes that she is entitled to compensation for the stress and anxiety caused to her in both her professional and domestic life contributed to by the Hospital Management's failure to remedy her legitimate complaints.
3. The Worker claims that due to being on disability allowance she is entitled to be reimbursed for loss of earnings while on sick leave.
4.1 Management has done everything possible to support the worker in her current role and states that she Worked hard in the Cardiac post and had endeavoured to meet the requirements of that particular post. Unfortunately, she has not been able to do so.
2. Management dealt appropriately with all the matters that were raised by the Worker. An independent investigator was agreed and employed to conduct an investigation into the bullying and harassment complaints. The Independent Consultant did not uphold the complaints made by the Worker.
3. Management was prepared to assign the Worker to an alternative post but she refused to accept this. Management has done all that is reasonable to support the Worker during this time and is prepared to continue to do so in the future subject to her acceptance of Management's legitimate role.
4. Management rejects the claim for compensation arising from complaints which were not upheld by the Independent Consultant. Management is prepared to and did offer a return to work, but the worker has not accepted, therefore Management cannot offer compensation for loss of earnings. The Worker is currently off salary but this is in accordance with the HSE's sick leave regulations. Compensation for stress is a personal injuries claim and is not appropriate to this forum.
5. The Worker was offered the counselling service of the Executive on a number of occasions and has declined.
Having considered the extensive oral and written submissions made by the parties, it is the view of the Court that the Claimant's case was fully and fairly investigated by the Independent Consultant.
The Court recommends that the Claimant accepts the conclusions reached in that Report and does not recommend concession of the claims she has put before the Court.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
9th August, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.