ADJUDICATION OFFICER DECISION
Adjudication Decision Reference: ADJ-00002521
Complaint(s)/Dispute(s) for Resolution:
Complaint/Dispute Reference No.
Date of Receipt
Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under Section 28 of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act, 2005
Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969
Date of Adjudication Hearing: 07/09/2016
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Jim O'Connell
In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act, 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).
The claimant commenced work with the respondent on the 28th march 2011 as Practice Manager, having previously been employed since 12th October 1998 as Practice Secretary. The Claimant has been on certified sick leave from her employment since in or around the 20th march 2015. The Claimant’s stated reason for such sick leave is stress in the workplace.
The claimant submitted that she had brought to the respondent's attention of ongoing difficulties she was having with a work colleague. It was submitted that despite her best efforts the respondent failed to take adequate steps to deal with the situation In fact the claimant wrote to the respondent dated the 17th January 2014 where she requested the respondent to provide help to address the situation where by she could return to work.
The respondent submitted that it was not clear as to the precise nature of the trade dispute or the nature of the resolution or action demanded by the claimant. It respectfully submitted that there is no valid trade dispute with the meaning of the Industrial relations Acts. The claimant made a complaint of bullying and harassment to the respondent, which complaints have been dealt with by Mediation and subsequently by way of full investigation, whose findings did not support the claimant’s complaint.
The respondent also submitted that that the claimant has in fact issued three sets of proceedings arising from the same cause of action.
The complaint was received on the 29th January 2016
Both parties made extensive written and verbal submissions at the hearing
I find that due to the volume of detail in the submissions and the complexity of the issues extra time was taken to examine all details.
I find the respondent questions whether there is a valid Trade Dispute to be investigated. I find that the respondent was notified by post letter dated the 9th February 2016 and he was also advised that under section 36(1) of the right to object to an investigation by an Adjudicating Officer. I find that no object was received from the respondent.
Section 13 (2) Subject to the provisions of this section, where a trade dispute (other than a dispute connected with rates of pay of, hours or times of work of, or annual holidays of, a body of workers) exists or is apprehended and involves workers within the meaning of Part VI of the Principal Act, a party to the dispute may refer it to a rights commissioner.
I find that the respondent employed the claimant and that he (respondent) was fully aware of the claimant’s difficulties from her previous employment.
I find that the relationship between the claimant and another employee should have been a cause of concern to the respondent. I find that while some steps were taken they were insufficient to have a long term effect in resolving the issues.
I find that both parties went to mediation which was unsuccessful.
I find that the claimant went to the respondent directly and I find that the whole process was not helped by the amount of time it took to have an investigation carried out.
I find that the investigation was not carried out in accordance with the respondent’s own procedures where it states “that written and signed statements will be taken from the parties involved.”
I find that this situation it extremely difficult for both parties and further investigation is required. .On that basis I am making the following
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.
That the parties refer their case to Arbitration;
With agreed Terms of reference on all aspects of the employment
Agree in advance that the Arbitrator’s decision is binding.
Process to be completed within 2 months from the date of this recommendation.
Jim O Connell
Dated: 24th January 2017