ADJUDICATION OFFICER DECISION
Adjudication Reference: ADJ-00019896
Family support worker
Siobhan McGowan Alastair Purdy & Co. Solicitors
Complaint/Dispute Reference No.
Date of Receipt
Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977
Date of Adjudication Hearing: 15/11/2019
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Janet Hughes
In accordance with Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 - 2015, 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 complainant has brought a case of constructive dismissal under the Unfair Dismissals Act. Prior to the termination of the employment on October 30th, 2018, she was employed as a Family Support Worker. It is agreed that her employment commenced in March 2013 and that her gross rate of pay was 1292.46 per fortnight. There were no additional benefits. The events which culminated in a letter of resignation on October 17th are said to have commenced on September 17th, 2018 with exchanges between the Complainant and another employee (referred to only where necessary, and as P). The employer, through the HR Manager learned of the incident between the two employees from an email sent to him by the Complainant on September 18th. In the period following that email and a conversation between the HR Manager and the Complainant on the day he received the email to the date of the Respondents letter of resignation on October 17th, there was another incident between the two employees on the same day as the first email reporting an incident September 18th. .The record shows emails, a meeting with managers on October 2nd and a further discussion with the HR Manager on October 9th followed immediately by a direct attempt to bring the parties together in the presence of the HR Manager on the same day. The record shows that the Complainant was absent on certified sick leave from September 26th to October 9th, 2019 citing workplace stress. On September 26th the Complainant wrote to the CEO regarding a vacancy in the Day Centre which was previously on offer, however she was informed that other arrangements were now in place. The direct meeting attempted by the HR Manager on the Complainants return to work on October 9th was unsuccessful primarily because the Complainant declared herself unable to engage with P. The HR Manager allowed the Complainant two days special leave following this event. Following the two days special leave, the Complainant returned to work, on Friday October 12th. She was at work on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th alongside P and submitted her letter of resignation on October 17th giving two weeks’ notice. In her letter of resignation, she gave as the reason for her resignation: ‘I am writing to you both today to inform you that due to my recent experience and to protect my future well-being I feel that I have no choice but to leave my position….’ In that letter she indicated that she was constructing a letter to outline in further detail the reasons for her resignation. This further letter was sent post her resignation, on December 9th, 2019.The HR Manager responded to the letter of resignation on the same day expressing surprise at her decision adding that he felt ‘the organisation acted in response to the situation as best we could and put in place a process to deal with it. We felt the process had been successful, the issues had been dealt with, and as much as it would have been difficult initially, we felt you guys would be a good working team together again soon. And indeed, this could have been a positive experience long term.’ The complainant left the employment at the end of her notice period. She was offered relief shifts in a Day Centre which would be particularly busy leading up to Christmas.
In terms of supports offered to the Complainant, she rejected the submission on behalf of the Respondent that she was ‘continually advised of the Employment Assistance Programme’
Compensation was sought by way of remedy. The Complainant remains unemployed at the date of the hearing. Correspondence was provided to demonstrate efforts to obtain employment together with a verbal submission detailing how she had failed to obtain work as a bus driver on grounds of her health which requires her to take anti-anxiety medication, which she was on at the time of the events which are the subject of this Decision. She stated that she was placed on the medication after a miscarriage and it was increased after she left the employment.
Asked by the Adjudicator what she felt the employer should or could have done to avoid her resignation, she replied that she had not received support referring in particular to the period after she returned to work on October 12th.
Summary of Complainant’s Case:
In her statement of complaint and in her detailed statement to the HR Manager of 9 December 2018, the Complainant referred to a range of issues in support of her decision to terminate her employment. She referred to the incident with P and the impact of that incident. She referred to the atmosphere on her return to work on October 12th , she found that P had been assigned project work which involved supervision of a student which the Complainant had understood she would do ; she received no handover from the Team Leader and she experienced no support from the team leader who, she said never approached her at any time or on her return or checked in with her regarding her situation even though, the Complainant said ‘it would be very evident that I was struggling’. At the Hearing she referred to working in a tiny office with P on her return and the unbearable atmosphere and feeling isolated. Regarding the handling of the situation and of her issues by management, the Complainant rejected the assertion by the HR manager in his response that management had acted as best they could stating that she felt that she was expected to ‘just get on with it’ and that she was made to feel that she was a ‘pest’ and a ‘nuisance’. She stated that she was told she wasn’t giving it a chance and on the first day she reported an incident she was told to go in to work that it probably would all blow over. She described her feeling of not being taken seriously. Instead, there was a further incident with P that day. Regarding the advice that she could take a formal complaint, the Complainant acknowledged that she was aware of the grievance procedure and had read it before writing to the HR Manager on September 17th. However, when she did meet the HR Manager and line Manager she said she felt when was being discouraged from taking a formal complaint. The reference she said was made in a very informal tone and that she was told that it would mean dragging in other staff for statements. She felt that the attitude at the meeting was she should go back to work and get on with it. There was an offer of counselling but this, she submitted would do nothing to resolve the ‘hostility’ in the office. Mediation was not offered as a means of resolving the issues. She denies that the HR Manager spoke on more than one occasion about the option of using the formal procedure, that this was only referenced at the first meeting where she was discouraged from taking a formal complaint. She described the attitude of the HR Manager after October 9th as one of making her feel that she was a pain and a nuisance and that she was not giving the situation a chance. She maintained that no support was given to her to deal with work related stress. The Complainant cited the Safety Health and Welfare Act 2005 ‘which recognises workplace stress and the role of employer(sic) when the staff member is suffering from same.’ In response to the written submission on behalf of the Respondent at the hearing the complainant re-affirmed her statement that the only time the use of the formal complaint procedures was put to her as an option was at one meeting and the commentary was such ‘as to dissuade me from following same’. She referenced the phone call from the HR Manager following her resignation letter where he described her letter of resignation as ‘sinister’ and ‘trying to force their hand’. She heard of other negative remarks about her resignation allegedly made to another member of staff by the HR Manager. These comments by the HR Manager she found so upsetting that she decided not to take up the offer of relief shifts in the Day Centre in the weeks after her resignation.
Summary of Respondent’s Case:
The Respondent Submission set out a chronology of events. The complaint of constructive dismissal was rejected on grounds that the Complainant had failed to meet the tests provided for in Section 1 of the Unfair Dismissal Acts,1977:
‘ the termination by the employee of his contract of employment with his employer whether prior notice of the termination was or was not given to the employer in circumstances in which, because of the conduct of the employer the employee was or would have been entitled or it was or would have been reasonable for the employee to terminate the contract of employment without giving prior notice of the termination to the employer.’
It was submitted that, to satisfy a constructive dismissal, the Complainant must prove one of the following two tests:
1. The contract test
2. The reasonableness test.
Stating that it was unclear from the complaint form which test the Complainant seeks to rely on, the submission addressed both tests.
In respect of the contract test the submission simply stated that, for an employee to prove that the breach went to the root of the contract or in the alternative, that the employer no longer intended to be bound by the main terms of the contract. Reference was made to case law as precedents in support of test. The position of the Respondent is that the complainant has failed to make a case which would satisfy the contract test.
In respect of the reasonableness test it was submitted that the Respondent must have acted in an unreasonable manner leaving the Complainant no alternative but to terminate her contract of employment. The submission regarding the reasonableness test, aside from citing case law as precedent and a guide to the application of the reasonableness test, centred on the contention that the Complainant had not utilised the grievance procedure although she was aware of it, referencing the procedures in the staff handbook in her first communication to the HR Manager on September 17th. The Complainants right to pursue a formal grievance was ‘highlighted to her on several occasions’ and she was ‘continually notified of her right to make matters formal’. In his evidence to the Hearing, the then HR Manager stated that the option to utilise the formal grievance procedure was put to the Complainant on at least two occasions, the date of the first meeting with the Complainant on October 2nd and on October 9th . In addition, meetings took place with the Complainant and with her agreement efforts were made to resolve the situation informally. On October 9th when the Complainant returned to work after a period of sick leave and with her agreement she was met by the then HR Manager and with her agreement P was asked to join the meeting so they could have an informal conversation, whereupon the Complainant started crying when P entered the room holding up her hand and stating ‘I can’t even look at her’. Following this event, the HR Manager gave her two days special leave. He contacted her again during the period of special leave but at no time did the Complainant seek to make a formal complaint. It was submitted that as the Complainant had refused to engage in the formal grievance procedure or indeed to actively engage in attempts to informally deal with matters, that the Complainant did not utilise all mechanisms available to her to resolve whatever issue she felt she had. Considering the short time between the period September 18th and October 17th allowing that there were two weeks of certified sick leave in that period, the Complainant had not allowed a sufficient period for the Respondent to deal with her grievances and the situation.
The then HR Manager gave evidence that he rejected the characterisation of him by the Complainant in her submission and at the hearing. At all times he had engaged with the Complainant with understanding and was supportive in trying to resolve her issues. He had met with her and engaged in communications by email and telephone throughout the period. The approach taken was to attempt to resolve the matter through informal means. He did specifically refer to her right to pursue the formal route on two occasions where he recalls the date. Following the unsuccessful attempt at informal resolution on October 9th, he spoke to other staff to try to see what might resolve the situation. He had also spoken to P whose version of events differed substantially from the Complainants.
In response to the Adjudicator, he advised that he had no notes of meetings or records of phone calls in connection with this matter.
In response to the Adjudicator as to the policy or practice where an employee submits medical certificates citing ‘workplace stress’ as the reason for absence and specifically whether the employee concerned would be referred to Occupational Health for an assessment, the HR Manager stated that the reference for a medical assessment in such circumstances was used, where there was a prolonged absence.
In response to the Adjudicator when asked which section of the grievance procedure the Complainant failed to use or was supposed to use to pursue a formal complaint, the HR Manager appeared to question whether the events which led to the initial approach to him by the Complainant represented an interpersonal difficulty encompassed by Section 3 or the more detailed grievance procedure set out at Section 2 of the Grievance Policy.
The CEO gave evidence in relation to the application by the Complainant for a transfer to the Day Centre on September 26th. It was agreed by both parties at the hearing that the original offering of a vacancy in Day Services was wholly unconnected with the matters before the Adjudicator and neither had the Complainant sought to make any connection when she later applied for the vacancy, by which time the CEO had made alternative arrangements to cover the situation.
Findings and Conclusions:
Before addressing the case related to the evidence of the Parties, there are some preliminary points from the hearing which merit placing on the record.
In her letter of 9 December 2018 to the employer and at the hearing of the case, the complainant referred to issues within the period of the employment relationship which she contended contributed to her decision to resign. Without detailing all those issues, given that she did not raise those issues of concern, for example the absence of supervision, during the period of her employment, they are not found to be relevant to the case for decision, nor can they be considered as justification for her decision to terminate her employment.
As was made clear at the hearing and accepted by the parties, this decision is not concerned with, nor are there any conclusions, adverse or otherwise, in respect of the involvement of the employee P in these matters.
In their submission to the adjudicator, reference was made on behalf of the Respondent to nine decisions of other bodies in cases of constructive dismissal, none of which were made available at the hearing. These precedent cases were not provided in advance of the hearing notwithstanding the fact that the main text of the submission was sent to the WRC and copied from there to the Complainant. While noting the solicitors reference to the forum for hearing this case not being a court of law, be that as it may , if a party wishes to rely on legal precedents then they must be made available for the other party to see or in such extract forms that the other party, and the adjudicator, may assess the material as evidence in support of a particular contention. This is a matter of fair procedure. It is not for the adjudicator to examine a precedent case after a hearing merely on the basis that it is mentioned.
About mitigation of loss, on 14 August 2019 the complainant provided material to the WRC on her efforts to obtain work since she left the employment of the Respondent at the end of October 2018. At the hearing, the respondent solicitor stated this material was not received by the Respondent. Having checked the records of the WRC, it is found that correspondence was issued to the Respondent on 09 September 2019 referencing an attachment from the Complainant, which was the documentation received on 14 August 2018. While this documentation may not have been forwarded to the solicitor, given there was no query raised regarding the attachment, it is taken that said documentation was forwarded to the Respondent by the WRC. Material detailed verbally by Complainant at the hearing regarding her efforts to obtain employment as a driver was received on 20/11/2019 and sent to the Respondents solicitor on the same day.
Moving on to the substance of the issues in this case, it seems sensible to address the evidence presented under the tests identified by the respondent to decide whether either of those tests have been met by the Complainant.
The Contract Test
The Complainant reported an incident with another employee to the employer, through HR in the absence of the line manager on the day following the incident. In that report, she refers to not sleeping, feeling nervous about coming to work. She refers to being ‘extra sensitive as this would be the week I would be due my baby’. She sought advice from HR. The response she received on the day was to the effect that the situation would likely blow over, certainly there is nothing on else on record which indicates otherwise. What occurred was a further incident on the same day between the two employees. On September 26th, the Complainant sent an email to the line manager informing her that her GP had advised her to take a week off, referring to ‘chest pain and stomach’ and high blood pressure. Earlier on that day she had written to the CEO inquiring about a vacancy in Day Centre. On September 27th, she wrote to the HR Manager in which email she referred to her doctor advising her to take time off ‘due to her physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing’. She referred to having her blood pressure tested again the following day.
On October 1 she wrote again to the line manager informing her that her GP would not allow her to go to work due to her ‘presenting symptoms’ ‘Chest pains to be further monitored’. She did agree and did attend a meeting with management the following day in an effort to resolve her concerns.
Certificates from the GP gave as the reason for the two weeks of absence ’workplace stress’ . Given the references in her emails to the nature of her symptoms combined with the reason for absence recorded by the GP, the question arises why the employer did not take immediate steps or any steps to have an occupational health assessment conducted for the purpose of confirming or otherwise the diagnosis and also taking medical advice on possible causes and resolutions where that independent medical adviser was satisfied that these were necessary. It is clear from her correspondence with the employer that the complainant was, as she put it, extra stressed because she had no entitlement to sick benefit. However, the condition of workplace stress represents a hazard or even a potential hazard and where that hazard is not definitively addressed, the employer is neglecting their duty of care to the employee concerned. A medical certificate citing workplace stress should be regarded as a red light or warning to an employer when first received. This duty of care goes to the heart of the contract between an employee and an employer in terms of obliging an employer to ensure the condition is assessed and identifying necessary supports or steps which may be required to allow the employee to return to work . In considering the events that followed the Complainants return to work, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the Complainant, although no longer on sick leave, was still in a high state of anxiety. This should have been evident to the employer by her dramatic reaction to P entering the same office on her first day back, October 9th. By any definition her reaction was neither considered or within the range of a normal reactions to seeing another employee, albeit one with whom she had reported difficulties. Acknowledging that the HR Manager gave the complainant two days off after that event, there appears to have been an expectation that the matters would simply resolve themselves thereafter whereas there was nothing to indicate that this would be the case, quite the contrary. Based on her own medical evidence, the commentary throughout her earlier emails and the evidence of the HR Managers own eyes on October 9th,there was enough evidence that this employee was experiencing a high level of anxiety and an inability to cope within her immediate working environment which justified an occupational health assessment. In the three days where she was required to work alongside P it was clear to her line manager that the situation was ‘difficult’ as the HR Manager described her report to him. As part of that report, the line manager was said that the difficult situation was being managed. Quite how it was being managed, when there is no evidence of the line manager interacting with the Complainant regarding the difficulties or her health and wellbeing, is unclear.
Put simply, there was every reason to question Complainants ability to work alongside P as early as the first medical certificate. In his evidence on this point, the HR Manager stated that a reference to an Occupational Health Physician would take place where the absence is lengthy. No rationale was advanced for the difference in judgement where the absence is of shorter duration. Indeed, an immediate reference would surely be more appropriate to protect the interests of all concerned. The facts are that while one medical assessment was provided which clearly indicated that there was a workplace stress issue, no material steps were in place to address the causes of that stress or to avoid a reoccurrence . When it was or should have been self-evident on 9 October that the complainant was not coping with her stress around P, there was in effect no action taken by the Respondent to assess the health aspect of this employee’s condition or to address or relieve her anxiety. While accepting that the HR Manager was well intentioned towards the complainant, the employer must be able to demonstrate how they exercised their duty of care to an employee known to be under other stress at this time and most importantly about whom they had received a medical report of workplace stress in addition to which there was ongoing evidence of her stress and no evidence that it abated at any stage. Noting that the employer offered counselling to the Complainant, her testimony that this would do nothing to address the root of her problems in the workplace is accepted. Looking at this measure objectively, it appears to part of a measure within the employment to deal with the stresses caused to staff arising from the challenging nature of the workplace in general. In this instance, its introduction as a possible solution to the problem, is consistent with the approach apparently adopted by the Respondent and experienced by the Complainant, that given time the problem as experienced by the complainant would simply evaporate. In relying on counselling as a supportive measure an alternative conclusion is that as the weeks went by the Complainant was regarded as the problem and it was she who needed to resolve her problem, through counselling. This conclusions on this point are consistent with the email of the HR Manager of October 17th in response to the notice of resignation, where he says on the one hand that there was a process in place and then: ’ as much as it would have been difficult initially, we felt you guys would be a good team again soon’. The process was passive rather than active on the part of the Respondent. From the return to work of the Complainant on October 12th the process was one of monitoring by the team leader, whom the Complainant has stated consistently without any evidence presented to contradict her assertion, never responded directly to any of her correspondence and did not approach her or check in with her in her return to work in October 12th or in the days which followed from Monday 15th when the Complainant and P were working in the same office and the Complainants description of her workplace is not one of a healthy environment. ‘Monitoring’ by the line manager does not meet the test of a process. This was a situation where on the only occasion where the two employees were brought together, the effort had to be abandoned due to the inability of the Complainant to cope as she found it ‘too difficult’ and ‘can’t even look at her’ as described by the Respondent. And then, after two days special leave for the complainant to recover from that encounter, she was required to go back into the same office and place as P. There was no evidence presented to rebut her contention that P was given a role working with a student when she had previously understood this would be her work, that there was no handover and that it was reasonable of her to feel isolated.
In summary, the finding in relation to test 1-the contract- is that the Complaint has provided sufficient evidence that in their response to her workplace stress, the failure to provide sufficient support to address her medical condition and to take demonstrable measures of a reasonable nature to ensure that the hazard no longer existed or could be expected to be manageable by the Complainant, the Respondent failed in their duty of care to the Complainant. The Respondent in this case, breached the implied and actual contract of employment in the case of the Complainant in respect of her health and welfare to such an extent that she succeeds in meeting the first test set by Section 1 of the Unfair Dismissals Act that ‘ because of the conduct of the employer…it was reasonable for the employee to terminate the contract of employment…’
Given that two tests were advanced by the Respondent as not having been met by the Complainant, while it may not be strictly necessary to do so in view of the finding in respect of test 1-the contract, it is considered appropriate to also examine this test also in this case given the extent to which they are intertwined in the facts of this case.
It is position of the Respondent that the Complainant was ‘repeatedly’ and /or ‘continually’ notified of her right to pursue a grievance. Based on the available evidence, this contention is not accepted as an accurate portrayal of the engagement with the Complainant. The evidence of the Complainant, that the right to pursue a formal complaint against P was offered to her only once and in a manner which was intended to dissuade her from the formal route, is preferred. In arriving at this conclusion, the absence of any email or note of a meeting or record of a phone call where the Complainant was informed of her rights is regarded as significant. At best it is reflective of the informal way this situation was addressed and the desire of the Respondent to maintain the informal approach throughout.
It was submitted that the Respondent has in place formal procedures for dealing with such a situation and that the Complainant was aware of those procedures, referencing these in her very first communication to HR on September 18th.
Although not numbered in the copies provided by the parties, there are two sections in the staff handbook which provide for grievances to be brought by employees.
The first is the Grievance Policy and Procedure. Under the section headed ‘Scope’ the following is stated:
For issues relating to interpersonal conflict please refer to page 3.
Page 3 sets out the procedure for dealing with interpersonal conflict with colleagues. It details how an employee should approach a colleague in the first instance. This is described as the informal route. There follows a heading Formal Route. This section requires the employee to make a request in writing detailing the nature and extent of the conflict and the steps taken to date to address this.
Page 4 sets out the procedure to be followed under the formal route
‘The manager will meet with both people separately and get their respective version of the conflict. The manager can also meet with other people as s/he considers appropriate. The manager will attempt to resolve the matter in a low key non-confrontational manner. When this does not bring about a satisfactory outcome, the matter may be referred to the next level of management, who will make every effort to resolve the matter between the parties. Mediation may be used for the resolution of grievances on a case by case basis.
This process will happen over the shortest timeframe possible with all stages fully documented. Meetings at both informal and formal stages will be one to one with the manager facilitating where appropriate.’
Leaving aside any shortcomings which may be observed from the text of the policy, there was no failure on the part of the Complainant to follow the formal grievance procedure where it is to be applied to interpersonal conflict. There can be no question but there was conflict between the two employees concerned and without analysing the rights and wrongs of that conflict, it was presented as such by the Complainant from the outset in writing, and repeatedly. A situation where one employee is saying she can’t even look at another could hardly be described as anything other than interpersonal conflict.
The Complainant asked for advice on September 18th. As time passed, the HR Manager followed the formal procedure in part in that he got the version of P, he spoke to other employees. He attempted a one to one meeting with the two employees. It could be said that he drifted in and out of the formal procedure. At no stage did he inform the Complainant of an outcome, whether it was to the informal or formal procedure including the different perspectives held by P or other staff and when it was evident that his efforts were not successful when he brought the two employees together, he did not refer the matter to the next level of management.
It is accepted that the Complainant was aware that there was a formal procedure, but quite how else she was to trigger that procedure when she had made a complaint in writing and there was no clear cut line between the ending of one procedure ,if one was used, and the commencement of another is not clear from the policy and it is accepted that, on the balance of probability, it was not made clear to her following that meeting with P that the use of the formal procedure represented her next step.
Overall the approach adopted by the Respondent lacked any coherence and the option of the informal route appears to have been the preferred approach of management without any clear process in place to support this approach, or indeed any approach on or after October 12th when the Complainant returned to work. It could be said that, in bringing her issue to the Respondent in writing, in agreeing to meet with managers while on stress leave, in agreeing to meet with the HR Manager on her return to work on October 9th,in agreeing to meet with P on the same day and in seeking a transfer away from the situation of conflict as early as September 26th, in terms of her efforts to have her issues of concern addressed the Complainant made every reasonable effort to resolve the problem directly and indirectly in her dealings with HR.
Some account must be taken of the fact that on returning to work and in her communications thereafter the complainant seemed to expect that all responsibility for a process lay with the Respondent although, notwithstanding the criticism of the lack of coherence in the Respondent approach she knew could have taken a formal complaint. However, in the circumstances of this case, any diminution of the Complainants case on this point is more appropriate as a factor in determining the remedy rather than a finding that she has failed the test of reasonableness set by the Respondent.
One added factor under this test, which is further addressed under remedy, is that the period which the Complainant allowed for matters to resolve themselves, given there was no active resolution process in place was very short-a total of four working days, three of them alongside P and on the third of which she submitted her resignation. This point made, it serves to reinforce the earlier points regarding her wellness at this time and her fitness to cope with the situation, as she saw it and underscores the point the two tests are intertwined.
The conclusion is that in this case, the complainant co-operated fully with any measures put in place by the respondent to resolve the situation and in seeking a transfer it could be said she took the only practical step attempting to resolve the situation herself. It was the Respondent who failed to put in place a coherent approach to resolving the complainant’s situation and failed to follow their own procedures ,drifting in and out of the policy as set out on pages three and four in respect of resolving interpersonal disputes. The absence of any records or notes of any kind undermines the claim to have repeatedly and continuously advised the complainant of her right to make a formal complaint and is itself a breach of the Respondents own procedure for dealing with interpersonal conflict.
The complainant has met the test of reasonableness set by the Respondent.
Mitigation of Loss
The Complainant states that she remains unemployed. Details were given of job applications in the social care field ,through recruitment agencies and with other employers outside the social care field. It is accepted that she has endeavoured to obtain alternative employment, however her fitness to work in certain areas which she has pursued must be open to question given her evidence to the hearing about medication which she links directly to the events in this case.
Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 – 2015 requires that I make a decision in relation to the unfair dismissal claim consisting of a grant of redress in accordance with section 7 of the 1977 Act.
Based on the evidence presented in this case taking into account the conclusions and findings set out above, I uphold the claim of unfair dismissal brought by the Complainant.
In terms of appropriate redress, taking into account the terms of section 7 of the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2015, I decide that compensation is the appropriate remedy in this instance. Given the passage of time since the complainant left the employment and the fact that it was she who decided the employment relationship was no longer tenable, compensation, as sought, appears to be the appropriate remedy rather than attempting to restore the relationship through redress.
Taking into account the very short period when the Complainant was at work during which the events which led to the termination of the employment took place and the fact that in the closing days of her employment, the Complainant seemed to leave all of the onus on the employer to resolve what was an interpersonal conflict, a sum of €8400.00 gross pay is considered an appropriate sum of compensation in all of the circumstances.
Dated: 17th December 2019
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Janet Hughes
Constructive Dismissal, Workplace Stress, Grievance Procedures