INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFERERATION)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY IRISH NURSES' AND MIDWIVES' ORGANISATION)
Chairman: Mr Hayes
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Ms Tanham
1. Disciplinary procedures.
2. The claim concerns the alleged disclosure of confidential information by the Claimant. He was issued with a letter which was claimed amounted to a final written warning following an investigation. This sanction was claimed not to be supported by a Report of the incident.
The Employer said the letter informed the Claimant that a repeat of his behaviour may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
On the 3rdMay 2013 the Worker referred his dispute to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969 and agreed to be bound by the Court's Recommendation.
A Labour Court hearing took place on the 2ndAugust 2013.
3. 1. The investigation process did not produce any evidence to substantiate the Employer's claim and did not result in a disciplinary sanction against the Claimant.
2. The Claimant was moved to another location while the investigation was ongoing and the delay in putting the Claimant back on the roster was unwarranted and unfair.
3. The Claimant now has the threat of disciplinary action up to and including dismissal hanging over him.
4. 1. The investigation concluded that the Claimant had disclosed information without authorisation.
2. The letter from the HR Manager to the Claimant is headed “Final Report” and sets out clearly the procedures that he must follow in any contact with clients. It reflects the findings of the Investigator.
3. It is clear that the letter is not a final written warning and this was repeated in another letter to the Claimant’s Union.
The Court has carefully considered the submissions of both parties to this dispute.
The Court finds that the letter issued by the Foundation to the Claimant on 10thJanuary 2013, though not intended to be so, amounts to a final written warning that is not supported by the Report of the Investigation into the incidents in question. Accordingly, the Court recommends that Management withdraw the letter and confirm to the Claimant that the outcome of the Investigation gives rise to no cause for disciplinary sanctions to be considered by Management in this case.
The Court notes that communication with families is an extremely sensitive aspect of client care in this sector. Accordingly, the Court recommends that Management develop and publish to all staff a policy / protocol governing this matter.
Finally, the Court finds that Management acted reasonably in transferring the Claimant to another unit within the Foundation while conducting the Investigation. However, the Court takes the view that it was tardy in restoring the Claimant to his normal place of work after the Investigation Report issued.
The Court so recommends.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
23rd August, 2013Deputy Chairman
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Ciaran Roche, Court Secretary.