Case Number: ADJ-00000910. Workplace Relations Commission

Docket NumberADJ-00000910
Date14 June 2016
CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
PartiesAdministrator V A Community Workshop

Adjudication Decision Reference: ADJ-00000910

Complaint/Dispute for Resolution:


Complaint/Dispute Reference No.

Date of Receipt

Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1946



Date of Adjudication Hearing: 29/03/2016

Venue: Ashdown Park Hotel, Gorey, Co Wexford

Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Eugene Hanly


In accordance with Section 41(4) of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 and Sec 13 of the Industrial Relations Act 1946 following the referral of the complaint/dispute to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint/dispute and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint/dispute.


The Complainant has been employed as a Grade 4 Administrator since 5th September 1983. She is paid €1,195.48 per fortnight. She has claimed that she has been performing reception duties on a temporary basis for over 6 years. She is seeking a review of her workload, a reduction in her workload and compensation for the stress caused by the excessive workload.

Complainant’s Submission and Presentation:

At a meeting on 31st March 2008 she was told that she had to do temporary cover at reception, one day per week, this practice has continued despite the fact it is not part of her normal duties, other with less service have not been asked to change their roles or temporarily take on new duties. She has expressed her dissatisfaction with this; however she has been advised that there is no option but to continue with this practice. This impacts on her duties that have to be carried out, it also is unfair treatment of one staff member over others. In December 2008 she was assigned the workload of an employee that had left. On 6th January 2013 she was assigned further work which increased her workload. In November 2013 she advised HR of her concerns about her workload. She requested that the reception duties be shared but this was refused. She was certified unfit due to stress in November 2013. She attended the company doctor and she undertook two CBT sessions in February and March 2014. She spoke to the CEO in January 2014 about her workload and she was promised a review. She again spoke to him in March and April 2014. In June she experienced chest pains and had to be sent to hospital. Following this she sought three outcomes, 1) her list of duties to be clarified 2) a transfer to another area 3) redundancy. She was offered two more CBT sessions in August 2014. In November 2014 an Intern was employed this reduced her reception work. In March 2015 she was placed back on regular reception duties as the Intern had left. In November 2015 she experienced chest pains again. She then discussed her workload with a Board member in November 2015 but nothing was done. The Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 places an obligation on the employer to ensure health and safety at work. Stress can affect individuals at emotional level, the cognitive level and behavioural level. Employers have a duty to protect their staff against stress. Her workload has consistently increased since 2008. She has been regularly promised a review of her work but it has never happened.

She is seeking a review of her workload, a reduction in her workload and compensation for the stress caused.

Respondent’s Submission and Presentation:

The Respondent’s business is a publically funded operation. The Complainant began employment in 1983 and at her own request she went on a four day week in 2007. She was appointed to Grade IV in January 2008 but was out sick until 31st March 2008. Upon a return to work an update meeting took place with the CEO and Finance Manager. She believed that the arrangements discussed were temporary. This is not the recollection of the CEO and Finance Manager. The role would always require cover for reception. She then carried out this role for six years with no reference to the requirement being temporary. Following a number of absences from work, which were certified as stress related the Respondent provided Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) sessions. In June 2014 she wrote to the CEO while on sick leave requesting a review and clarification of her duties, a transfer or redundancy. The CEO responded with a list of her duties, pointing out that there were no changes and offered to look at opportunities for a transfer and also advised that a redundancy situation did not exist. A return to work meeting took place and she was accompanied by her Union Official. It was at this meeting in 2014 that she first raised the matter of the alleged temporary nature of the reception work. Her Union Official requested that she stops working in the reception area. An Intern commenced in November 2014 and she was only required to work on Wednesdays from 3.30pm to 5.30pm. In August 2015 her Union Official wrote seeking a meeting to discuss the temporary work which has lasted over 6 years. The Respondent replied that they were trying to reduce the amount of time she spent at reception. A meeting took place on 6th October 2015 concerning workload. The Respondent wrote to her Union Official in November 2015 pointing out that she spends very little time on reception and that there was a plan to recruit another Intern. She had questioned that supervision was not her job but it was pointed out that her job description clearly states “supervision of administrative staff”. Other positions such as payroll are not interchangeable.

It is the Respondent’s position that all staff are required to be flexible. They are seeking the support of an Intern for 2016. They have been very fair to the Complainant at all times. The company doctor found that there was no medical reason for the complainant not to be able to work. The reception work was never a temporary position. This claim is rejected.


1) Reception Duties

I note that the Complainant stated that she has no objection working at reception.

Despite her assertion I have concluded that she does not want or like to work at reception for whatever reason.

I fail to understand how a person would work the reception duties for over 6 years and plead that it was a temporary arrangement.

I note the conflict of evidence regarding what was said back in 2008. On the balance of probability I find that there was no arrangement whereby she would only operate the reception duties on a temporary basis.

I find that there was nothing temporary about the work arrangement that lasted over the last 6 years.

I note that the job description refers to “relief reception work”. I find that she has not been fully employed at reception so she performs relief work which is contained in her job description.

I note that a new Intern...

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