SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
AURA DKIT SPORT
- AND -
1.Bullying and harassment within the workplace by the Manager.
The Worker is a student who was employed on a part-time basis as a Fitness Instructor by DKIT Sport (‘the Company’) from 9 November 2021 until her resignation took effect on 1 September 2022. The Worker had informed the Company of her decision to resign by letter dated 19 August 2022. That letter did not state the reason for the Worker’s decision to leave her employment.
Subsequently – by email dated 26 August 2022 and addressed to the Human Resources Department – the Worker notified the Company of her concerns in relation to a number of interactions she had had with her manager that had led to her decision to resign:
In an email dated 31 August 2022, the Worker enquired whether or not her grievance would be fully investigated if she decided not to retract her resignation. The HR Manager replied as follows on the same date:
When referring her complaint to the Court, the Worker indicated that she was seeking a written apology from the Company and a reference. The Company’s Representative told the Court that the Worker had been provided with a Statement of Service on 13 March 2023. The Worker accepted that she had received this from the Company and was, therefore, withdrawing her request for a reference.
Discussion and Recommendation
The Company has a comprehensive suite of policies in place, a copy of which was before the Court. Those policies include both a Grievance Policy and a Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Harassment Policy. It is unclear to the Court why the HR Manager directed the Worker to progress her complaint under the Grievance Policy when it should have been evident to her on the basis of what the Worker stated in her email of 26 August 2022 that the Worker’s complaint should have been dealt with by the Company under its Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Harassment Policy.
At the hearing before the Court, the Company’s Representative acknowledged that the Worker’s complaints were “of a serious nature”. She also acknowledged that the Company’s decision not to fully investigate the Worker’s complaint and its decision to carry out a ‘review’ only once her resignation had been confirmed fell short of best practice. The Representative undertook to revisit this aspect of the Company’s policies.
Notwithstanding the shortcomings in the Company’s handling of the Worker’s complaint in this case, as outlined above, the Court cannot accede to the Worker’s request to recommend that the Company issue her with a written apology.
The Court so recommends.
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Therese Hickey, Court Secretary.