INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 1990
SECTION 13(9), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
APPLE DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL T/A APPLE
(REPRESENTED BY G J MOLONEY SOLICITORS)
- AND -
(REPRESENTED BY STANLEY & CO SOLICITORS)
Chairman: Mr Duffy
Employer Member: Ms Doyle
Worker Member: Ms Tanham
1. Appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-143326-IR-14/JOC.
2. The case before the Court concerns the Employer's appeal of Rights Commissioner's Recommendation R-143326-IR-14/JOC. The dispute relates specifically to the Worker's claim that the Employer's investigation into an alleged workplace incident was fundamentally flawed and he was denied the right to just and fair procedures. The Employer rejects the Worker's claim arguing that it acted in accordance with the terms of its Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures and in line with Statutory Instrument 146 of 2000. The matter was referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and recommendation. On the 30th September 2014, the Rights Commissioner issued his Recommendation as follows:
" 1. I recommend that the final written warning be expunged from the Claimant's record from the date of this recommendation.
2. The Claimant be reinstated to the position held on the same terms and conditions as and from the date of this recommendation.
3. The Respondent reviews its policies in relation to the grievance and disciplinary procedures".
On the 5th November, 2014 the Employer 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 1st April, 2015.
3. 1. The Employer breached fair procedures throughout the investigation and disciplinary process.
2. The Worker was denied the right to natural justice and fair procedures throughout the investigation and disciplinary process.
3. The sanctions imposed on the Worker were harsh and unwarranted in all the circumstances of the case.
4. 1. The Employer maintains that it adhered to the terms of its Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures at all times.
2. The Employer contends that fair procedures were applied to the Worker at all times.
3. The Employer is of the view that the sanctions imposed on the Worker were appropriate in the circumstances.
The Rights Commissioner’s recommendation under appeal is predicated on a finding by him that the disciplinary process leading to the imposition of sanctions on the Claimant was procedurally flawed. Having considered the submissions advanced by the parties the Court concurs with that central finding of the Rights Commissioner.
The procedures adopted in this case did not conform with the general principles set out in the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures (S.I 146 of 2000) in a number of material respects, including the provisions of the Code in respect to the right to representation.
Having regard to all the circumstances of the case the Court cannot identify any basis upon which it should interfere with the findings and recommendations of the Rights Commissioner. Accordingly, the appeal is disallowed and the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner is affirmed.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
27th April 2015______________________
Enquiries concerning this Decision should be addressed to Sharon Cahill, Court Secretary.