Case Number: ADJ-00025006. Workplace Relations Commission

CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
Judgment Date01 August 2021
Date01 August 2021
Hearing Date18 January 2021
Docket NumberADJ-00025006

Adjudication Reference: ADJ-00025006




Anonymised Parties

Senior Training Advisor

County Education Training Board


Marie O'Connor SIPTU

Ian O’ Herlihy Solicitor Mason Hayes and Curran LLP



Complaint/Dispute Reference No.

Date of Receipt

Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977



Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 13 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969



Date of Adjudication Hearing: 18/01/2021 and 15/03/2021

Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Marguerite Buckley


In accordance with Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 – 2015 and Section 13 of the Industrial Relations Acts 1969following the referral of the complaint and dispute to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaint and dispute and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaint and dispute.

I heard a large amount of evidence during the hearing days and was provided with substantial booklets of documents and submissions. The parties were very capably represented on both sides and the witnesses were all courteous to me and the adjudication process.

I allowed the right to test the oral evidence presented by cross examination.

Much of this evidence was in conflict between the parties. I have taken time to review all the evidence both written and oral. I am not required to provide a line for line rebuttal of the evidence and submissions that I have rejected. I have adopted the direction provided in Faulkner v. The Minister for Industry and Commerce [1997] E.L.R. 107 at p.113 where O'Flaherty J. in the Supreme Court noted that only broad reasons need be given:

“I would reiterate, what has been said on a number of occasions, that when reasons are required from administrative tribunals they should be required only to give the broad gist of the basis for their decisions. We do no service to the public in general, or to particular individuals, if we subject every decision of every administrative tribunal to minute analysis.”

  • Background:

This matter was heard by way of remote hearing pursuant to the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 and SI 359/20206, which designates the WRC as a body empowered to hold remote hearings.

The Complainant was employed by the Respondent between 1 November 2018 and the 31 July 2019.

The Complainant was on maternity leave between the 1 November 2018 and 24th of June 2019.

The Complainant was dismissed on the 31 July 2019.

Summary of Complainant’s Case:


The Complainant's case is that she made a protected disclosure following the discovery of financial documentation belonging to herself and her husband (a Garda) on the office photocopier on 15 July 2019. These documents had been stored by her on the bottom of her unlocked desk drawer.

She advised the Respondent that a data breach had occurred and requested the office shredding box be checked that seven members of staff with access to the office be contacted by email. She expressed her fears of the potential use of personal information belonging to herself and her husband.

She identified a member of staff whom she suspected of being responsible for photocopying her documents.

She requested a copy of the photocopier logs and that an investigation be carried out into the incident.

She had three meetings with her line manager and the Area Training Manager in relation to the incident.

On the 19 July 2019, the Area Manager informed her that there was no unusual printing activity during business hours, he would not provide her with a copy of the photocopier logs or a copy of his investigation report, shredding would be carried out on the next scheduled date and the investigation was concluded.

The Respondent’s Director of Further Education and Training convened a meeting with the Complainant on 25 July 2019 ‘to outline certain serious concerns she had about her engagement with the Respondent management, staff and clients'.

The Director enumerated four areas of concern, namely

Judgement and Decision-making skills

Communication Skills

Calling the Reputation of the Respondent staff and the Organisation into disrepute

Professional Boundaries

Examples of her concerns were provided to the Complainant.

The Complainant was provided with a memorandum of the minutes of the meeting. It was later described as a 'probationary review'.

A letter of dismissal issued on the 31 July 2019. The Director gave no reasons for dismissal save

.... The concerns which I have outlined, taken together, and particularly given the short period of time over which they have arisen, are such that I am satisfied that your probationary employment should be terminated with effect from today.

An appeal hearing took place on 3 October 2019. This was conducted by the Respondent Chief Executive. The Chief Executive issued his appeal outcome on 16 October 2019 rejecting the Complainant's appeal. That letter stated that the Board was not aware of a ‘relevant wrongdoing’ and found that the Complainant had not made a protected disclosure.

The letter set out that the only grounds for the termination of the Complainant's employment were set out in the Director’s letter 31 July 2019.


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