ADJUDICATION OFFICER DECISION
Adjudication Decision Reference: ADJ-00005182
Complaint(s)/Dispute(s) for Resolution:
Complaint/Dispute Reference No.
Date of Receipt
Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969
Date of Adjudication Hearing: 12/01/2017
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: John Tierney
In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 [and/or Section 8(1B) of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977, and/or Section 9 of the Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Act, 1984, and/or Section 79 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998, and/or Section 25 of the Equal Status Act, 2000] following the referral of the complaint(s)/dispute(s) to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint(s)/dispute(s) and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint(s)/dispute(s).
Complainant’s Submission and Presentation:
I have been employed as Accounts Receivable Specialist for the Germanics Market from 14.10.2013 to 31.07.2016 for the Respondent. This position morphed into a combination of other fields, i.e. master data and credit control, which were not in my original remit. This clouded situation continually brought difficulty in day to day working relations. Upon highlighting to my supervisors / teamleads (I had four different teamleads in my period of employment) the difficulties I had with trying to contend with the unrealistic work load covering these fields, I was invited to a meeting to discuss same. At this meeting I made several suggestions based on my experience how these difficulties could be managed more efficiently. Subsequently I was called to a “hearing”. When I enquired what the function of this hearing was I was told it is merely an investigative meeting. I enquired was there any disciplinary element to this meeting I was told firmly no. I attended meeting with a work colleague whom I was told could accompany me but could not ask any questions on my behalf. A short time later I was invited to a further investigate meeting by senior management as he was not happy with the outcome of the first investigative meeting. Having been assured that neither were disciplinary meetings I spoke openly and frankly about day to day difficulties and excessive work load and suggestions to improve. One week later I received a verbal warning in writing stating that my performance must improve dramatically and will be monitored constantly over the next six months... I feel that my openness and frankness at the latter meeting with senior management was reported directly to my supervisor / team lead and as a consequence of this my relationship with my team lead deteriorated rapidly. My performance status was downgraded (effecting my bonus) and I was told I was the worst in the team verbally and by Email. I was harassed on a near daily basis to the point that I had to have medical advice and medication to deal with same. It was suggested to me that to deal with the excessive daily workload I should remain late at my station until work load was completed (without any overtime pay). I tried to accommodate this suggestion, for some time, to the point where my work / life balance became untenable. Because of duress visited upon me by the daily bullying tactics used by management, I was advised by my doctor in order to preserve my mental and physical health that I should resign my position at Whirlpool. I did so, regrettably, on the 31.07.2016 and have been under medical supervision since. For the record, I have previously held managerial positions with multinational companies. This fact was often thrown at me with the expression “we would have expected more from you, Ulrike” given your business back ground and was used to undermine my position within the team. Upon taking up the position, it was implied that there could be changes to procedure on an ongoing basis and if changes came to pass, full training in the use of “tools” needed to perform these tasks in a speedy and efficient manner would be forthcoming. When I was challenged relating to my supposed underperformance I did on many occasions highlight that I did need training in “tools” application to perform these tasks. My requests were met with management procrastination leading to an ever increasing spiral of duress. I had expected to see out my professional working life with the Respondent. Unfortunately, the behaviour of my direct team leads and management prevented me from achieving this. Although, this situation effected and effects me directly, there are many other employees in this Company suffering from this dreadful behaviour on a daily basis. I believe that somebody must investigate the working conditions at this Company. I was there for three years, however, I was the longest serving member of that team, when I was forced to resign. Whirpool’s staff turnover record is absolutely terrible. Ask yourself why. If you feel you can progress my complaint in this matter, I have detailed files to substantiate all facts.
Respondent’s Submission and Presentation:
The Respondent outlined the Claimant’s career history with them. She alleges that she was bullied and harassed by them. However, at no time during her three years employment did she raise any formal complaints in line with the Respondent’s Open Door Policy or through the grievance procedure. She did engage in several conversations with her supervisors during her employment, regarding her work and ways of working. She was fully aware of the Respondent’s grievance procedure but never availed of it. Therefore they could never have addressed her concerns.
Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 requires that I make a decision in relation to the complaint(s)/dispute(s) in accordance with the relevant redress provisions under Schedule 6 of that Act.
The Claimant was invited to give a written response to the Respondent’s written submission within two working weeks, if she wished.
I have considered the case presented by the parties. The Claimant never availed, formally of the Grievance or Open Door Policy. Therefore the Respondent was not aware of the Claimant’s concerns as such and could not have addressed them.
I therefore do not find the claim well founded as the Respondent had never the opportunity to address the issues raised by the Claimant
Dated: 26 April 2017