INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 29(1), SAFETY, HEALTH AND WELFARE AT WORK ACT, 2005
HARBOUR HOUSE LIMITED
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Ni Mhurchu
1. Appeal against Rights Commissioner's Decision R-047153-HS-06/TB
2. The worker was employed as a receptionist/housekeeper for the Company (a Hostel) from the 22nd August, 2003, to the 9th November, 2006. His case refers to the working conditions in the Hostel which he claims were in contravention of Section 27 of the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, (the Act). The worker supplied details of his complaints to the Court.
The worker referred his case to a Rights Commissioner whose decision was as follows:
"The claimant did not make a complaint which could be considered as penalisation within the meaning outlined in Section 27 of the Act.
The Complaints he makes do not come within the provisions of Section 27 of the Act."
The worker appealed the decision to the Labour Court on the 9th July, 2007, in accordance with Section 29(1) of the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act, 2005. A Labour Court hearing took place on the 13th February, 2008, in Sligo. The following is the Court's determination:
This is a complaint by Mr. Vytautas Jurksa (the Complainant) alleging that his former employer, Harbour House Limited (the Respondent) contravened Section 27 of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 (the Act). His complaints related to the employer’s alleged failure to provide him with a safety statement, faulty smoke detectors, the condition of the drinking water and a noisy water pump. He also complained that his employer did not offer him the opportunity to join a pension scheme or a general practitioner scheme.
The complaints were investigated by a Rights Commissioner who found that they could not be considered as penalisation within the meaning of Section 27 of the Act and consequently held that they were not well-founded. The Complainant appealed to this Court. In his appeal, the Complainant proceeded to make new complaints under the Act, complaints that had not been made to the Rights Commissioner.
The Labour Court’s jurisdiction under the Act arises under Section 29 of the Act, which provides for a party to appeal to the Labour Court from a decision of a Rights Commissioner. Its jurisdiction is solely an appellate one and any new claims arising from first instance cannot be entertained by the Labour Court as the Court has not been given such powers by the statute. Therefore, this Court cannot entertain the new claims put forward by the Complainant at the hearing on 13th February, 2008.
The Court has considered the appeal of the Rights Commissioner’s decision made under the Act and concurs with his findings. Therefore, the Court upholds the Rights Commissioner’s decision and dismisses the appeal.
The Court so determines.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
10th March, 2008______________________
Enquiries concerning this Determination should be addressed to Ciaran O'Neill, Court Secretary.