INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
LIMERICK COUNTY COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT SERVICES BOARD)
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Doherty
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. 1. Failure to comply with Rights Commissioners Recommendation 2. Compensation and re-instatement.
2. The Claimant is employed by Limerick County Council as a Senior Executive Engineer in its Road Design Office, Mungret, Co. Limerick The dispute before the Court relates to a claim by the Claimant that Limerick County Council failed to comply with a Rights Commissioners Recommendation dated the 2nd April, 2004 in relation to a number of issues previously referred to the Rights Commissioners under the Payment of Wages Act, 1991 and the Industrial Relations Acts, 1969 and 1991. The Claimant raised a number of grievances with Limerick County Council, which the Council rejected. The Claimant subsequently referred the matters to a Rights Commissioner for hearing.
- The Rights Commissioner having considered the matters at some length concluded that the best way forward would be for both parties to agree to a comprehensive investigation by an agreed independent third party of all the matters raised by the Complainant in his submission dated 20th August, 2003.
The Rights Commissioner did not issue a decision relating to the Claimant's complaint under the Payment of Wages Act, 1991. The Rights Commissioner felt that for the present, the issues involved could be more appropriately dealt with as part of a comprehensive examination as recommended.
Both parties agreed to engage the Anti Bullying Research and Resource Centre at Trinity College to carry out the investigation. A copy of the Claimant's submission to the Rights Commissioner was forwarded to them. Their report issued on the 25th June, 2004. The Report concluded"Having outlined each allegation, response and our conclusion, it is clear from this report that we do not feel that (an individual) has bullied or harassed the Claimant".
The Claimant contends that Limerick County Council failed to comply with the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation on the basis that it failed to forward a copy of the Rights Commissioners Recommendation to the investigation team and therefore the Anti Bullying Research Centre was unable to carry out a comprehensive investigation into all the issues involved.
- The Council rejects the claim.
The claimant referred his claim to the Labour Court on the 22nd March, 2006 in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. The claimant is seeking compliance with above recommendations, compensation, damages and reinstatement. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 20th June, 2006.
3. 1. The Claimant contends that Limerick County Council's failure to deal with the issues concerned is symptomatic of Harassment and Bullying and falls within the Councils definitions of harassment and bullying. The Claimant further contends that when the Anti Bullying Research and Resource Centre was initially engaged to carry out the investigation, it was not given a copy the Rights Commissioner's recommendation in which it was asked to investigate allof the issues raised by the Claimant in his submission and therefore all the issues raised were not investigated satisfactorily.
4. 1. The Council has complied with the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation which stated"I therefore formally recommend that the parties should agree that all of the issues raised by the Complainant should, as soon as practicable, be the subject of a comprehensive examination by an independent third party as above".The Council engaged the Anti Bullying Research and Resource Centre at Trinity College and provided it with a copy of the Claimant's submission as requested by him. The reputation of the Anti Bullying Research and Resource Centre is above reproach and the Council is satisfied that it carried out the investigation in a professional and competent manner.The Council believe that its actions in this matter were both reasonable and fair. It does not accept that it has in any way failed to comply with the Rights Commissioner Recommendation.
2. In relation to the issue of reinstatement and compensation these matters were not raised in the claimant's correspondence to the Rights Commissioner's service in January, 2006 and not previously raised by him with the Council. Reinstatement infers that the claimant's employment has ceased, this is not the case, his employment with the Council has been continuous and no dismissal has taken place.
The case before the Court, which was brought under Section 20 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 concerns the worker’s claim that Limerick County Council failed to comply with a Right’s Commissioner Recommendation which recommended that a comprehensive examination by an agreed independent third party should be carried out into all matters raised by him and as outlined in his submission to the Rights Commissioner. A claim concerning a breach of the Payment Of Wages Act, 1991 was also mentioned in the Rights Commissioner’s Recommendation. In connection with that complaint the Rights Commissioner decided to await the outcome of the third party investigation before issuing his decision under the 1991 Act.
The independent third party suggested to the Rights Commissioner by the worker, conducted an investigation into his complaints in April/June 2004. This report was completed on 25th June 2004, the outcome of which did not find in favour of the worker’s complaints.
Having considered the views of the parties expressed in their oral and written submissions, the Court is satisfied that Limerick County Council complied fully with the terms of the Rights Commissioner’s Recommendation and co-operated fully with the third party in carrying out the investigation. The worker’s grievance to the Court was principally concerned with the methodology of the investigation.
Having reviewed the matter, the Court can find no grounds to find fault with how the investigation was carried out. Consequently, the Court does not find in favour of the worker’s claim and rejects the claim.
The Court notes that the claim concerning a breach of the Payment Of Wages Act, 1991 is still outstanding, therefore, the Court recommends that the worker should refer back to the Rights Commissioner for a final decision on his claim under the 1991 Act.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Jackie Byrne, Court Secretary.