Case Number: ADJ- 00012333. Workplace Relations Commission

Docket NumberADJ- 00012333
Hearing Date17 May 2018
Date19 November 2018
CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
PartiesA care worker Vs. A state agency
RespondentA state agency
ADJUDICATION OFFICER DECISION. Adjudication Reference: ADJ-00012333 Parties:



Anonymised Parties

A care worker

A state agency


James Doran BL instructed by Butler Monk Solicitors

Respondent Management.



Complaint/Dispute Reference No.

Date of Receipt

Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 6 of the Payment of Wages Act, 1991



Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under Section 4 of the Protection of Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998



Date of Adjudication Hearing: 17/05/2018

Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Jim Dolan


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


The Complainant was originally employed in a clerical capacity by the Respondent in 2001. In April 2002 she was appointed a Trainee Childcare Worker and assigned to a position with the Respondent in the Dublin area.

In January 2004 the Complainant was appointed as a Child Care Worker to a Special Care Unit in Dublin on a temporary capacity and was eventually awarded a Contract of Indefinite Duration in May 2004.

At the time events which led to the Complainant being place on Administrative Leave began to unfold in 2009/2010, she remained employed as a Child Care Worker and was a Shift Coordinator.

In January 2014, the Complainant’s employment transferred to another Government Agency upon that agencies establishment. She is currently employed as a Social Care Worker with this agency and is currently assigned to an establishment in Co. Kildare.

This assignment commenced when the Complainant returned from her Administrative Leave in July 2017.

The Complaint was received by the Workplace Relations Commission on 19th December 2017.

Summary of Complainant’s Case:


1. Both the Complainant and her husband were employed by the Respondent at a Special Care Unit. In the early part of 2009 concerns were brought to the attention of the management of the centre regarding the interactions between certain members of staff and young persons who were clients/residents of the centre. Specifically concerns regarding what is referred to as “the XX incident” was brought to the attention of management.

2. Both the Complainant and her husband were the subject of a campaign of bullying and harassment by certain members of staff and they were subject to being isolated and ignored by them. Sometime in November / December 2009 the Complainant received a complaint from a young boy at the centre that he had been physically abused. She reported the matter to management. Two staff members were suspended pending an investigation of the allegations.

3. In November 2009, a public blog was set up on the internet relating to the “XX incident”. Numerous references were made by the anonymous blogger(s) who claimed to be staff members. There were derogatory references to the Complainant on the blog site and comments which were both abusive and intimidating. This continued through the month of December 2009.

4. In addition to the above, text messages were sent to a number of staff outside of work on their personal mobiles. The text messages related to the Complainant and were sent from an unidentified mobile phone number. The number did not match any of the staff telephone numbers on the official list. Some of the staff members who received the text messages advised the Complainant. The Complainant’s husband with the assistance of colleagues took steps to establish the identity of the person sending the offending texts.

5. On 23rd February 2010, both the Complainant’s and her husband’s tax documents went missing from the pile of documents sent down from the administration building. A search is carried out by management and staff members for the missing documents to no avail. Eventually the missing documents were found in a locked confidential shredding bin. Out of the entire staff team (50) these were the only two documents tampered with.

6. Subsequently, a meeting was held in the Director’s office to address ongoing intimidation and bullying issues. Present at the meeting were the Complainant’s husband, the Acting Director and the Acting Head of Care. During that meeting the issues were discussed frankly and assurances were given to the Complainant’s husband that they would both be supported through their rosters being amended to keep the alleged perpetrator away from them.

7. On 24th February 2010 an anonymous note was left in the public staff communication book (which all staff members read daily). The note was a half-page long and ridiculed the Complainant and her husband. The staff phoned the Acting Head of Care to inform him of the incident and he immediately came to the staff office and removed the note from the book to stop any further humiliation.

8. The Complainant’s husband sent a detailed letter to the Acting Head of Care in relation to events and requesting an action plan to deal with ongoing issues.

9. Following a meeting held with management relating to the above issues the Complainant’s husband received a letter from the Acting Head of Care. The letter stated that as a management response to the ongoing issues mentioned above that we have amended the staff roster allowing no cross over with individuals mentioned in this meeting as best we can. In practice this meant that the Complainant and her husband would be based at another Centre and on an outreach project to keep them safe from further malicious acts.

10. On 11th June 2012, both the Complainant and her husband received...

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