INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
HSE CENTRAL MENTAL HOSPITAL
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Hayes
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Mr Shanahan
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-142990-IR-14/EH.
2. The case before the Court concerns the Worker's appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-142990-IR-14/EH. The dispute relates specifically to the Worker's claim that he has been treated in an inequitable manner by his Employer throughout the course of an internal investigation commenced on foot of allegations made against him by person or persons unknown. Pending the conclusion of the investigation, the Worker has been redeployed to an alternative position and has suffered a loss of earnings as a result. The Worker is seeking the immediate termination of the investigation and reinstatement to his original position and corresponding salary. The Employer rejects the Worker's claim and agreement could not be reached. The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 15th August, 2014 the Rights Commissioner issued his recommendation which was appealed by the Worker to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on 25th November, 2014.
3. 1. The Employer has caused undue delay in completing the internal investigation.
2. The Worker has been treated unfairly by the Employer following his redeployment to an alternative position and the financial loss suffered as a result.
3. The Worker has not been afforded his right to natural justice.
4. 1. The investigation is being carried out in accordance with the agreed terms of reference and appointed investigators.
2. The Employer contends that the Worker was redeployed as a protective rather than punitive measure.
3. The Employer asserts that the Worker has been treated in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
The issue before the Court is a complex one involving the interaction of the “Trust In Care” and Staff Disciplinary policies and their effect on the reputation and earnings of the Claimant. The Court has no role in the interpretation, operation and implementation of the Trust in Care policy. However the Court has a role in addressing the industrial relations implications of the manner in which policies that affect staff are administered.
In this case the Claimant was relocated within the hospital to facilitate an investigation under the Trust in Care policy. The relocation had the effect of reducing his income through the loss of premium and other earnings.
The Court finds that while Management relocated the Claimant on a without prejudice precautionary basis under the Trust in Care policy, he should not as a consequence have suffered a reduction in income. Accordingly the Court decides that Management should immediately restore his earnings with full retrospection to the date on which he was transferred to his current position.
The Court finds that Senior Management should engage with the investigation to bring it to a speedy and proper conclusion within 4 weeks of the date of this recommendation. Management should also ensure that the interests of the Claimant are protected through this process. The Court further finds that any matters that arise out of the investigation, including any shortcomings in the investigation itself, should be dealt with through the agreed industrial relations procedures.
The Court so decides.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
18th December 2014______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Sharon Cahill, Court Secretary.