INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
BON SECOURS HOSPITAL, TRALEE
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr McGee
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-032947-Ir-05/Jh.
2. The worker commenced employment in the Hospital in February, 2003, as a night-time receptionist. Between February, 2003, and February, 2006, she undertook relief duties in the Medical Records Department. In 2004 she applied for a position in the Medical Records Department which involved 15 hours plus hours required. She was successful for the position and from July, 2004, to December, 2004, these hours were extended to 35 per week.
In November, 2004, a full time position (35 hours) became available in the Medical Records position. Management decided to split the job into 2 x 20 hours part-time positions to be performed in the afternoon. The posts were advertised and the worker and two other employees applied, (one of these subsequently withdrew). The Company then sought "referrals" from existing staff on behalf of other (external) staff, a process the Union claims is inequitable. Five people were interviewed, two internal and three external. The worker concerned was unsuccessful.
The dispute was referred to a Rights Commissioner and her recommendation was as follows:-
"1. I recommend that the worker's permanent contract be extended to twenty hours per week and that the additional hours be agreed with her as to when they will be performed and I would expect both parties to be reasonable in this matter. The worker to receive twenty hours pay per week with effect from the 1st June 2005 and pending agreement on her revised hours.
2. I recommendthat the employer set out in writing the recruitment policy which will be followed in future vacancies. Where it is decided in any appointments process that a referral procedure will be used, the applicants for positions to be advised of that procedure at the time and in advance of any interview. This is to allow any such candidate the right to submit a grievance if they consider that they are being unfairly treated in advance of interviews. These recommendations to be accepted by the worker in full and final settlement of any complaint by her in respect of the appointment procedure used in the filling of the position in medical records."
(The worker was named in the above recommendation)
The Union believes that the worker should have received an additional 20 hours per week on top of her current fifteen hours per week, thus giving her 35 full-time hours per week.
The Union appealed the recommendation to the Labour Court on the 4th of August, 2005, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 16th of May, 2006, in Tralee.
3. 1. The practice of "referrals" meant that the process lacked fairness and transparency. The interviews were not conducted in line with the Hospital's recruitment policy.
2. The worker was enjoying a permanent part-time (15 hours) position and could easily have been facilitated with the additional 20 hours. It was known to the Hospital that she was interested in working 35 hours per week.
3. The worker was the only candidate with all relevant experience for / of Medical Records.
4. 1. It was explained to the worker that in the interest of fairness the job had to be advertised internally as the Hospital could not preclude staff members from applying.
2. The Hospital could not concede a claim for 35 hours per week when the post that was advertised was for 20 hours per week. The Rights Commissioner recommended 20 hours for the worker and the Hospital is willing to accept the recommendation.
3. Since September, 2005, the worker has frequently worked in excess of 20 hours per week and often worked full-time hours.
4. The Hospital has drafted a policy in relation to recruitment which it believes is in line with best practice.
The Court, having heard the submissions of the parties, upholds the Recommendation of the Rights Commissioner and dismisses the appeal.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
16th June, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.