SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
NATIONAL AMBULANCE SERVICE
- AND -
1.Complaint Under Section 20(1) of The Industrial Relations Act 1969
The parties outlined to the Court that the worker had made a complaint against another worker under the Dignity at Work Policy. The terms of that policy are agreed with trade unions representative of workers in the employment. The policy provides that a complaint made under the policy will first be ‘screened’ by an assigned person to establish whether the matter is comprehended by the policy.
In the case of the worker, he made a complaint under the dignity at work policy in January 2022. In April 2022 the assigned person decided that the details of the written complaint made by the worker in January 2022 were appropriate to the nationally agreed grievance procedure.
The worker seeks to have the Court recommend that this decision be set aside and that an investigation of his complaint should now take place. The Court notes that the worker against whom the complaint was made retired in early 2022, and has indicated to the employer that, having retired, he is not willing to engage in relation the matter.
Both parties confirmed that no part of the agreed Dignity at Work policy provides for the Court to review or set aside the conclusion of the decision maker at the screening stage. In those circumstances the Court concludes that it is not now appropriate that the Court would purport to insert itself into the agreed procedures in place to deal with complaints made under the Dignity at Work policy and in particular to substitute its assessment for the assessment of the decision maker appointed under the procedure to ‘screen’ the complaint.
This matter before the Court is a trade dispute within the meaning of the Industrial Relations Acts. The effective practice of industrial relations is founded on the exercise by parties of pragmatism against a realistic assessment of what is practical and achievable. In this trade dispute, noting that the person against whom workplace bullying allegations have been made is no longer in the employment of the employer and has stated that he will not become involved in any matter associated with the worker’s allegations, there is no reality to the proposition that this trade dispute can be resolved by the employer initiating an investigation to determine the validity of the allegations of the worker against his now retired colleague.
Therefore, the Court recommends that the matter should, as a result of the effluxion of time and the insurmountable obstacles now present inhibiting the conduct of any agreed procedure, be regarded as closed and resolved in finality.
The employer should review the conduct of the agreed procedures in this matter to ensure that any failings, if such there were, in the operation of the agreed procedures, can be the subject of learning with a view to the future.
The Court so recommends.
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Clodagh O'Reilly, Court Secretary.