Case Number: ADJ-00000008. Workplace Relations Commission

CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
Docket NumberADJ-00000008
Date16 March 2016
PartiesAn Employee -v- An Employer

In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 and/or Section 8(1B) of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977, 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).

Complainant’s Submission and Presentation:

The complainant was employed by the Employer as an Operative (Shift Manager) for 5 years. The Claimant was unfairly dismissed by his Employer on 17th June 2015 in the circumstances more fully set out hereunder. Prior to the Claimant’s dismissal by the Employer on 17th June 2015, the Claimant had only ever been the subject of two complaints from the Employer in respect of the Claimant’s employment with the Employer. The Claimant received a verbal warning on 11th June 2014 that remained in place for 6 months for running in the aisles of the Employer’s factory premises in alleged breach of the Employer’s health and safety procedures. The practice that resulted in the Claimant receiving the verbal warning was a practice in which the Employer’s employees regularly engaged in and was a practice that was not actively discouraged by the Employer but tolerated by the Employer as a means of aiding the Employer’s employees in meeting the Employer’s production deadlines. The second complaint related to a breach of the Employer’s health and safety procedures. In or around June 2014, the Claimant cut a roll of plastic while the rollers were turned on (which speeded up the process), which was contrary to the approved procedure of first turning off the machine and then cutting the plastic. The Claimant was given a written warning which remained in place for one year. The Claimant sustained an injury in an accident in the workplace during the course of the Claimant’s employment on the 16th April, 2014. The Claimant suffered personal injuries to his left foot/ ankle. After some consideration, the Claimant decided to take a personal injuries claim against the Employer. As of the date of this Complaint Form, the claimant’s personal injuries claim is currently with the Injuries Board for assessment. When the Claimant’s Manager became aware of the fact that the Claimant had lodged a personal injuries claim against the Employer in respect of the accident that occurred on the 16th April 2014, he began to behave adversely to the Claimant from then on until the date of the Claimant’s dismissal on 17thJune 2015. In particular, he approached the Claimant on several occasions (including in particular, but not limited to, approaches made on 16th June 2014 and on 3rd March 2015) and stated to the Claimant that the Claimant should not pursue his personal injuries claim. Moreover, the Manager regularly approached the Claimant and sought updates as to the status of the Claimant’s personal injuries claim. Further, to the Claimant’s knowledge, the Manager questioned other employees as to the status of the Claimant’s personal injuries claim. Further, he went so far as to approach the Claimant in an attempt to settle the Claimant’s personal injuries claim directly with the Claimant despite being fully aware that the Employer’s insurance company was dealing with the matter on the Employer’s behalf and despite being advised by the Claimant that his Solicitors were on record for the Claimant in respect of the Claimant’s personal injuries claim. This conduct on the part of the Manager towards the Claimant amounted to bullying, harassment and intimidation by him of the Claimant that was motivated by the exercise by the Claimant of his constitutional right to institute proceedings against his Employer in respect of the injury suffered by the Claimant during the course of his employment and that constituted an unlawful attempt to dissuade the Claimant from proceeding with his personal injuries claim. On the Claimant’s instructions, his Solicitors wrote to the Employer and to the Employer’s Insurance Company on record in respect of the Claimant’s personal injuries claim on two separate occasions (by letters dated 20th June, 2014 and 31st March, 2015) requesting...

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