INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
MARKS & SPENCER (IRELAND) LTD
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY MANDATE)
Chairman: Ms Jenkinson
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr Shanahan
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation r-123093-ir-12/EOS.
2. The Claimant has worked as a Sales Advisor in the Company's Mullingar Store since November 2007. In March, April and May 2010 the Claimant brought formal written complaints in accordance with the Company's Dignity at Work Policy to the attention of the Store Manager in respect of a number of complaints of bullying incidences that occurred involving a work colleague and her Line Manager. The Union has advanced that the Company carried out a flawed investigation into the allegations while the Company submits that the Claimant's complaints have been fully investigated in accordance with agreed procedures with the Union.
The issue involves a claim by a Worker. The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 8th April, 2013 2009, the Rights Commissioner issued her Recommendation as follows:-
"In all of the circumstances, I recommend on the basis of the unique circumstances prevailing in this case, that the company pay the claimant a once off compensatory payment of €750, in full and final settlement of this dispute."
On the 8th May, 2013 the Worker appealed the Rights Commissioners Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969.
A Labour Court hearing took place on the 25th July, 2013.
3. 1. The Company failed our member at every level, its failure to carry out a fair and impartial investigation and follow correct procedures in accordance with the Code of Practice S.I. 17 of 2002.
2. The Union requests the Court to recommend that the parties meet to review the policies and procedures in respect of Bullying and Harassment under the Dignity at Work Policy. Taking into account the impact on the Worker in terms of stress that the handling of the dispute by Management has caused, the amount of compensation should be increased to a more appropriate level.
4. 1. The Company carried out an investigation in relation to all three complaints. The complaint against the Complainant's colleague was upheld whilst the complaint against her Line Manager was not. The Company made the decision to terminate the work colleague's employment.
2. The matter was fully investigated in accordance with Company's Disciplinary and Appeals Policies. The Company has adhered to the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation and because of the unique circumstances of the case is willing to pay €750.00 in full and final settlement of the dispute.
The appeal of the Rights Commissioner’s Recommendation before the Court was made by the Union on behalf of the Claimant who was aggrieved with an investigation carried out by the Company into bullying allegations made by her. Having considered the submissions of both sides, the Court is satisfied that the provision of information relating to the investigation was supplied to the Claimant and her Union in accordance with the established custom and practice under the Company’s agreed Dignity At Work Policy.
Furthermore, in the circumstances of this case the Union submitted that the Company’s Dignity At Work Policy was not in compliance with the Code of Practice S.I. 17 of 2002 “Procedures for Addressing Bullying in the Workplace”. Having examined the Code of Practice the Court is satisfied that the Company’s Policy was not in breach.
The Rights Commissioner awarded a sum of €750.00 to be paid to the Claimant in the unique circumstances and in full and final settlement of this dispute which the Company was willing to adhere to.
In those circumstances, the Court upholds the Rights Commissioner’s award and the appeal fails.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
31st July, 2013______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to John Foley, Court Secretary.