INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
COMMISSION FOR ENERGY REGULATION
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY PUBLIC SERVICE EXECUTIVE UNION)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Mr Murphy
Worker Member: Mr McCarthy
2. This case concerns a dispute between the worker and her employer in relation to a disciplinary matter. The worker contends that she was issued with a final written warning and had an increment withheld following an investigation into alleged misconduct on her part. The Union contends that the sanctions imposed were excessive and disproportionate. The Union is seeking that the final written warning be expunged from the worker's file and that she be paid the increment that was withheld.
Management's position is that the worker was issued with an appropriate disciplinary sanction after an investigation into her alleged misconduct was concluded. Management further contends that the non payment of the increment was not a disciplinary sanction but was instead part of a parallel process unrelated to the investigation.
On the 20th August 2014, the worker referred the matter 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 7th October 2014.
3 1 Management did not carry out the investigation in an appropriate manner or in line with the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures (S.I. 146 of 2000). The worker was found guilty of misconduct but was sanctioned for gross misconduct which is completely unacceptable. Management also withheld an increment from the worker which was also perceived by her as part of the disciplinary sanction.
2 On the basis of the flawed processes used and the disproportionate sanctions imposed against the worker, the Union is seeking that the warning be expunged and that the increment be paid.
4 1 The worker failed to carry out a legitimate management instruction. An investigation was then carried out in line with procedures and an appropriate sanction was imposed. Management does not accept that the process was flawed and that the sanctions were disproportionate and excessive.
2 It is not accepted that the increment was withheld as part of the disciplinary sanction. There is no automatic entitlement to be paid an increment and on the occasion in question, following the agreed performance management process, it was decided that the it would not be paid
Having regard to all the circumstances of this case the Court recommends that the final written warning imposed on the Claimant should be reduced to a first written warning, effective from 4th July 2014. The warning should remain on the Claimant's file for a period of 12 months from that date.
The Court further recommends that the question of awarding the Claimant the disputed 5% incremental payment be reviewed in accordance with the commitment given by the employer in its email to the Claimant dated 17th April 2014.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
28th October 2014______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Andrew Heavey, Court Secretary.