INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2004
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
PORTIUNCULA HOSPITAL (HSE WESTERN AREA)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Grier
Worker Member: Mr O'Neill
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioners Recommendation R-032415-ir-05-JH.
2. The Worker commenced employment as a Care Assistant in Portiuncula Hospital in October 1998. She was made permanent in May of the following year.
On the 25th May, 2004 issues arose between the Worker and her Ward Manager while she was on duty at the hospital. This subsequently led to a disciplinary hearing in August 2004 and the issuing of a written warning to the Worker regarding her conduct. The Worker felt that she did not deserve to be issued with a written warning as she did nothing wrong.
The issue was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. Her recommendation issued on the 25th January, 2006, as follows:-
"Based on the submissions made and for the reasons set out in the foregoing I do not recommend any change in the disciplinary sanction issued to the worker on the 18th August, 2005. I do recommend that if the grievances described by the worker reflect the views of a broader group of staff that these be pursued on their behalf by SIPTU through the normal procedures."
(The worker was named in the Rights Commissioner's recommendation.)
The Worker appealed the Rights Commissioner's recommendation to the Labour Court on the 7th March, 2006, in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 6th September, 2006.
3. 1.Throughout the process the Worker believed that the matter was being dealt with informally. The Worker maintains that she was not notified that the meeting of the 12th August, 2005, was to be a formal disciplinary meeting.
2. The Worker alleges that the outcome of the disciplinary meeting was decided before the hearingand consideration of her case.
3. The Worker did not deserve to be issued with a written warning as she had not done anything wrong.
4. 1. At all times the Worker was afforded the opportunity to make her case and apologise for the hurt she had caused to her Ward Manager.
2. Management made every effort to resolve the situation locally before invoking the disciplinary procedure.
3. The Worker and her Union were requested to process the alleged grievances through the agreed Grievance Procedure. No grievance has been raised to date, now more than two years after the allegations.
The case before the Court concerns an appeal by the Union on behalf of a claimant against the Rights Commissioner’s Recommendation, which upheld Management’s actions in issuing a written warning to the claimant on 18th August 2005. The worker was not satisfied with this recommendation and appealed it to the Court.
Having investigated the issues involved, the Court is of the view that the claimant had a number of opportunities to possibly resolve difficulties which arose over an incident which occurred on 25th May 2004 and if she wished she could have processed her own grievance in accordance with the appropriate procedures. However, she did not avail of those opportunities and consequently the Court accepts Management’s actions in issuing the written warning on 18th August 2004.
The Court fully concurs with the conclusion of the Rights Commissioner and upholds her recommendation. Therefore the Union’s appeal fails.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
25th September, 2006______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Madelon Geoghegan, Court Secretary.