DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY DISABILITY SUPPORT SERVICES LIMITED
1.Appeal of Adjudication Officer's decision No ADJ-00027055.
The background to this claim is a protracted one. The Worker first sought to have her Grade IV role evaluated and upgraded in 2006. Thereafter, there was engagement at local level, a referral to the Rights Commissioner Service, and subsequent communications between SIPTU, the Employer and the HSE.
Unfortunately for the Worker the HSE Job Evaluation Scheme was suspended in 2009, following legislative measures introduced during the economic recession, and not reactivated until late 2016.
In 2017, the Worker applied to the HSE Job Evaluation Scheme to have her role regraded at Grade V. The application was made with the support of her Employer. In January 2019, the HSE Job Evaluation Board communicated that the Worker’s role had been evaluated at Grade VI. The Employer queried the outcome with the HSE and in April 2019 the Job Evaluation Board confirmed that the post was graded as a Grade V.
The Union submits that the Grade VI awarded to the Worker under the scheme was effectively blocked by the Employer, who intervened in the process outside of procedures. It argues that the scheme allows for movement of more than one grade and the Worker should be awarded a Grade VI.
It is accepted that the Worker sought to have her role upgraded to Grade V and not Grade VI. SIPTU is now seeking that the Court reverses the decision of the Job Evaluation Board and recommend that the Worker’s role is upgraded to a Grade VI. The HSE Job Evaluation Scheme is an independent process administered by the HSE.
The Worker’s role has been the subject of an independent assessment under that scheme and the HSE Job Evaluation Board has confirmed her role to be a Grade V. It is not the role of this Court to substitute its own views for those of an independent assessment body or to interfere with assessments made by such bodies. In such circumstances, the Court cannot uphold the Worker’s claim to have her role regarded to Grade VI.
The employer, for its part, states that it simply requested an explanation of the process in circumstances where an application for a role to be regraded to Grade V was subsequently sanctioned at a Grade VI. The role was subsequently confirmed as a Grade V. The Employer submits that it sought an explanation of how the error was made but did not receive one and that it cannot be held responsible for failures by an external job evaluation body.
SIPTU referred the Court to the rules of the Job Evaluation Scheme which state that a decision of the evaluators is not open to review, and the outcome of an evaluation process is not open to appeal. It submits that the rules of the Scheme do not provide for the Employer to contact the Job Evaluation Board to query processes or question rationale. The Court notes that the rules of the Job Evaluation Scheme allow for a review of a process where an applicant believes such a process was flawed. However, no details were provided to the Court of the Worker availing or seeking to avail of this review process to address her concerns.
As a result the Worker laboured under the misapprehension that her role had been regraded to Grade VI, until she was advised otherwise. It is also unsatisfactory that no explanation was provided to the Worker by the HSE Job Evaluation Board to clarify why she was advised in January 2019 that her role was assessed at a Grade VI and why this was subsequently rescinded. The lack of transparency and engagement with the worker about the rescinded grade was clearly unhelpful.