INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
HSE - SOUTHERN AREA
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SIPTU)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal Against Rights Commissioners Recommendation R-020818-Ir19-04/MMG
2. The case before the Court concerns an appeal by the Union of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-020818-Ir19-04/MMG. The issue in dispute concerns an incident that occurred on 27th April, 2003 when the employee in question, who is employed as a Psychiatric Nurse was on night duty in St Stephen's Hospital. The subsequent managerial decision as to how the incident should be rectified was the cause of a dispute between management and the employee in question.
Management subsequently requested that an incident report be submitted as was the agreed practice in such circumstances. The Nurse's refusal to submit a report and subsequent refusals to discuss the incident with management resulted in him being
sent home from work on 3rd June 2003. He was subsequently returned to duty the following day following an intervention from the HSE's Employee Relations Manager.
The Union is claiming that management at the hospital did not follow their own grievance and disciplinary procedures and the worker was sent home unfairly as a result. The employee subsequently felt that his work record and reputation had been damaged as a result of an incident that had not been his fault.
The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner who issued his recommendation on the 14th September 2005 recommending that
"the employer should acknowedge and confirm that the employee is totally respected as a professional psychiatric nurse and that he is of good standing within the organisation with no disciplinary matters and/or reports on his file. The employee should equally respect the right of management to manage and should accept the statement made on behalf of management that he was not being "singled out".
The Rights Commissioner concluded that the matter should be deemed to have been amicably resolved to the satisfaction of both parties and should be deemed closed.
On the 20th October 2005, the Union (on behalf of the employee) appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on 16th June 2006.
3. 1. Nurse Management at the hospital did not follow the agreed grievance and disciplinary procedures in relation to the incident. The employee was sent home from duty and held responsible for an incident that was not his fault. The employee's reputation and employment record have been damaged as a result.
2. Senior Line Management employed by the HSE-South should be given the appropriate training on grievance and disciplinary procedures to ensure that these difficulties do not re-occur in the future.
4. 1. Management at the hospital had repeatedly asked the employee to file the appropriate report following the incident. The employee continually refused and did not accept subsequent efforts made by management to resolve the issue.
2. Management has applied the terms of the Rights Commissioner's recommendation confirming that the employee is ofgood standing within the organisation with no disciplinary matters and/or reports on his file.
The case before the Court concerns an appeal by the worker against the Rights Commissioner’s Recommendation which found that the matter which was the subject of the claim should be deemed to be amicably resolved to the satisfaction of both parties and therefore should be deemed closed. The worker was not satisfied with this recommendation.
Having investigated the issues involved, the Court is not satisfied that the worker made any efforts to engage in resolving difficulties which arose over an incident which occurred on 27th April 2003. On the other hand the Court is satisfied that Management made every effort to try and resolve these difficulties. Indeed it appears that all attempts made by Management were thwarted. Under those circumstances it was not possible to find a resolution to the issues. This has resulted in a difficult situation being unresolved for over three years despite serious efforts made by management.
The Court concurs with the conclusion of the Rights Commissioner’s Recommendation that the matter should now be deemed closed. The Rights Commissioner’s recommendation is upheld and the worker’s appeal fails.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
3rd July 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.