INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
CARRICK ON SUIR TOWN COUNCIL
(REPRESENTED BY LGMA)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY SERVICES INDUSTRIAL PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Ms Tanham
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-132648-IR-13/GC.
2. The case before the Court concerns the Employer's appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-132648-IR-13/GC. The dispute relates specifically to the Worker's claim that she was treated in an inequitable manner by her Employer when she received a verbal warning following an internal investigation into a workplace incident. The Worker is employed by the Council as a Traffic Warden. In September 2012, the Worker on instruction issued parking tickets to vehicles operated by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service which were parked in positions contrary to town by-laws. The Worker upon issuing the tickets indicated in writing on the tickets that she had issued them "under duress". The Worker was invited to a disciplinary hearing on the matter where she was given a verbal warning as a result of her actions. The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 21st February, 2014 the Rights Commissioner issued her Recommendation as follows:
"I note that prior to the incident which gave rise to the penalty imposed, that custom and practice existed of allowing the Blood Transfusion Service vehicle park in the location and the Claimant was understandably aggrieved at the instruction. However, she should accept Management's requirement not to write comments on the parking tickets.
For their part Management involved the same personnel who issued the instruction, carried out the disciplinary hearing and imposed the penalty. This has long been established as contrary to best practice and natural justice. In all the circumstances I recommend the verbal warning should be rescinded".
On the 21st March, 2014 the Employer appealed the Rights Commissioner's Recommendation to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 13(9) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. A Labour Court hearing took place on 15th October, 2014.
3. 1. There is an unwritten local understanding that it is common practice to not issue parking tickets to Irish Blood Transfusion Services vehicles.
2. The Council contravened the principles of natural justice in this matter.
4. 1. The Employer acted fully in accordance with its Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures and the sanction imposed on the Worker was warranted in the circumstances of the case.
2. The Worker was afforded the right to fair and just procedures at all times.
The Court is satisfied that the Rights Commissioner reached a balanced and reasonable conclusion in this case.
There is no basis upon which the Court could interfere with that recommendation.
The appeal is disallowed and the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is affirmed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th October 2014______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Sharon Cahill, Court Secretary.