SECTION 28(1), ORGANISATION OF WORKING TIME ACT, 1997
(REPRESENTED BY AN POST)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY CP CROWLEY & CO SOLRS)
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr Nash
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner Decision R-033053-WT-05/JH.
2. The Claimant has been employed as a Post Office Clerk in Galway area office since August 2001. On the 13th December, 2004 the claimant made an application for special leave for the first two weeks in January, 2005. An Post maintains that his application was refused on operational grounds. On the 21st December, 2004 the claimant applied for annual leave for the same period. This application was also refused. An post maintains that due to Industrial relations issues in the area at the time Management decided that they could not let the claimant go on leave for an extended period at short notice and that applications for annual leave by the claimant previously had not been refused.
The Claimant referred his claim to the Rights Commissioner Service on the 19th July, 2005 on the grounds that An Post was in breach of Section 19(3) of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.Management maintains the Claimant had received two weeks holidays in May 2004 and therefore contended that they had complied with the Section 19 (3) of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.
The Rights Commissioner's Decision issued on the 30th September, 2005 as follows:
"This is a complaint under the Organisation of Working Time Act. It may be that Mr. Burke considers that the refusal to grant annual leave at the time requested by him was unreasonable and unfair by reference to the subsequent treatment of another employee albeit at a later date. However I am satisfied that the employer did not breach the terms of the Organisation of Working Time Act. The employer does have the entitlement to determine the period of annual leave and by inference is entitled to decide that an operational reason is a reasonable ground for refusing annual leave provided that the employer has met with the other requirements of the Act. In this instance the request for the annual leave was at short notice, it did present an operational difficulty and the employer did not, during the holiday year in question, breach the Organisation of Working Time Act, by reference to the fact that the employer did provide the claimant with two successive weeks holidays. Furthermore the employer did accede to a separate request from the claimant for annual leave on the 30th and 31st December, 2004. In the circumstances I do not consider that the claimant has a valid complaint under the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997".
The worker appealed the Rights Commissioner's Decision on the 3rd November, 2005, based on Section 19(1), together with Section 20(1) of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 in accordance with Section 28(1) of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 15th February, 2006.
The following is the Court's Determination:
Having heard the submissions of the parties, the Court finds that there was no breach by the Company under Section 20 (1) of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.
It was not contended at the hearing that there was a breach of Section 19(3) of the Act.
The Court cannot rule on the question of a breach of Section 19(1) of the Act, as this was not the subject of a hearing by a Rights Commissioner.
The Court, accordingly, upholds the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner and dismisses the appeal.
The Court notes the Company's clarification that all outstanding holidays are still available to the claimant.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Determination should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.