ADJUDICATION OFFICER RECOMMENDATION
Adjudication Reference: ADJ-00022496
A Hotel Employee
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: 09/10/2019
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Pat Brady
In accordance with Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Acts 1969 following the referral of the dispute to me by the Director General, I inquired into the dispute and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the dispute.
Summary of Complainant’s Case:
The complainant has been employed by the respondent as a waitress since 2016, and is very experienced and adaptable.
She generally worked in the main restaurant but would occasionally be assigned to room service or other duties where the opportunity to earn gratuities would be reduced. The loss could be as much as €400.00 per week.
She made a complaint against her manager and while efforts were made to mediate a solution this did not endure and she continued to be assigned to lower earning areas of the hotel and in due course she made a formal complaint, comprising some thirteen distinct complaints.
The respondent initiated a formal investigation which concluded that the respondent (in the grievance) could have managed things better. However, a number of the complaints were not upheld, and the complainant appealed.
The appeal was heard by the hotel manager.
He upheld her complaint in respect of a number of additional matters, but not all.
She was unhappy with how the respondent dealt with the person against whom the grievance had been made.
There was a second grievance against a different co-worker, arising from a text message the complainant received from that co-worker’s husband.
A mediation took place which the complainant found unsatisfactory.
In general, the complainant feels that the respondent did not take sufficiently serious steps arising from her first grievance.
Summary of Respondent’s Case:
The respondent submits that it has dealt very fully with the complainant’s various grievances.
The first matter was the subject of mediation on April 14th, 2018 following which all parties agreed that the issue had been resolved to their satisfaction.
When the complainant raised her grievance in January 2019 it was fully investigated. In the course of the investigation to=he complainant confirmed that she was satisfied with the outcome of the April mediation.
There were fifteen complaints submitted for investigation.
Of these seven were upheld. In addition, the investigator made positive recommendations aimed at supporting the complainant’s career development, rostering, and resolution of other outstanding issues.
The complainant appealed six items and three of these were upheld and three were unsuccessful.
The appeal outcome also contained further positive comments about the need to improve the quality of communications with the complainant.
Three follow-up meetings were held.
There was a mediation involving the complainant and the second co-worker against whom she complained arising from the co-worker’s husband’s involvement. It had a positive outcome.
The respondent says that it has complied fully with the terms of its internal procedures in respect of the complaints.
The complainant appears to wish the respondent to initiate disciplinary action against one of its employees who were involved. However, any action taken by the respondent in that regard is a matter for it to decide and in any event is confidential.
There is no basis for redress for bullying or harassment as claimed by the complainant.
Findings and Conclusions:
The facts of the case are as set out above and are not in dispute.
However, a simple narrative of the facts disguises the real impact of the events they describe on the complainant.
I find no fault with the respondent’s handling of the matter.
Had they merely formally processed her complaints they might still have reasonably defended their actions on a narrow technical basis.
However, I am satisfied that they went beyond that in the search for a resolution of the issues, and not just a settlement of them. They continued to seek a basis for restoring the complainant’s position what it should have been.
Unfortunately, and understandably the complainant has been hurt by the events which gave rise to her complaints and she has lost some faith in the respondent despite its efforts to resolve things.
Her expectation that some form of disciplinary action should have followed is misplaced, or at least any expectation that she should know about it or have any say in what form it should take is quite misplaced.
This is a matter for the respondent alone, although given the recommendations of the investigator and the Hotel Manager in his appeal findings it would be a surprise if some form of follow up did not occur, in whatever form the respondent deemed most effective.
The complainant is a skilled worker and the respondent representatives at the hearing were clearly well disposed to assisting her to further develop her skills and career through its supervisory development programme, or other programmes but the complainant has declined to participate in it or to submit claims for reimbursement of some small losses she incurred.
Her reticence may have been understandable as she struggled to deal with the impact on her of the events which had given rise to the various complaints she made (and most of which were upheld by the respondent).
But, paradoxically this, her own actions, now represents the main obstacle to getting her career back on track and developing it further to the next level.
The matter of the complaints of January 2019 is now closed as a result of a combination of the mediation and formal investigation and appeal which has been completed.
The complainant was substantially successful, but she must now relegate these matters to the past.
I recommend that the complainant engages with the respondent with the support of her trade union and that the respondent, in turn fully support her in implementing the outcome of the grievance process and in respect of her future development.
Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Acts, 1969 requires that I make a recommendation in relation to the dispute.
While I do not uphold complaint CA-00029236 I recommend as follows;
The matter of the complaints of January 2019 is now closed and the process is terminated for the reasons set out above. I recommend that the complainant accept that the matter is disposed of.
I recommend that the complainant engages with the respondent with the support of her trade union and that the respondent, in turn fully support her in implementing the outcome of the grievance process and in respect of the development of her future career.
Dated: 29th November 2019
Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Pat Brady