Galway County Council (Represented by Local Government Management Agency) v Stephen Connolly (Represented by Services Industrial Professional Technical Union)

 
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Labour Court (Ireland)

FULL RECOMMENDATION

PD/17/6

DETERMINATION NO.PDD182

ADJ-00004684 CA-00006686-001

PARTIES:
Galway County Council (Represented by Local Government Management Agency)
and
Stephen Connolly (Represented by Services Industrial Professional Technical Union)
SUBJECT:
1

1. Appeal of Adjudication Officer's Decision No: ADJ-00004684.

BACKGROUND:
2

2. The worker appealed the Adjudication Officer's decision to the Labour Court on 18 July 2017. A Labour Court hearing took place on 24 January 2018. The following is the Determination of the Court:

DETERMINATION:
3

This matter comes before the Court as an appeal of a decision of an Adjudication Officer made under the Protected Disclosures Act, 2014 (the Act) in a complaint made by Mr Stephen Connolly (the Appellant) that his former employer, Galway County Council (the Respondent) penalised him as a consequence of his making a protected disclosure and in contravention of the Act at Section 12(1).

4

The Adjudication officer, in a decision dated 14 th June 2017, found that the complaint before him was out of time and that the Adjudication officer lacked jurisdiction to hear the complaint. The appellant made his appeal to the court on 18 th July 2017.

Preliminary Issue
5

The Respondent raised the issue of time limits before the Court and contended that the complaint of the Appellant was made on 28 th August 2016 and that the matters which formed the basis of his complaint occurred before 28 th February 2016 and consequently his complaint was out of time.

6

The Appellant submitted that he continued to be penalised until the date of his retirement on 24 th September 2016 and consequently his complaint of penalisation in the period between 29 th February 2016 and 28 th August 2016 was in time by reference to the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 (the Act of 2015) at Section 41 subsections (6) and (8).

7

The Court notes that the Appellant was on sick leave from 19 th December 2014 until his retirement on 27 th September 2016.

8

The Act of 2015 at Section 41 (6) and 41(8) provides as follows

41(6) Subject to subsection (8), an adjudication officer shall not entertain a complaint referred to him or her under this section if it has been presented to the Director General after the expiration of the period of 6 months beginning on the date of the contravention to which the complaint relates.

41(8) An adjudication officer may entertain a complaint or dispute to which this section applies presented or referred to the Director General after the expiration of the period referred to in subsection ( 6) or (7) (but not later than 6 months after such expiration), as the case may be, if he or she is satisfied that the failure to present the complaint or refer the dispute within that period was due to reasonable cause .

9

No application or submission has been made to the Court that any failure to refer any aspect of the within complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission within the time limit set out in the Act of 2015 at Section 41(6) was for reasonable cause. Therefore, the Court determines that events occurring between the dates of 29 th February 2016 and 28 th August 2016 are within the jurisdiction of the Court in the within appeal.

Position of the Appellant
10

The Appellant submitted to the Court that the Appellant made what he contends is a protected disclosure within the meaning of the Act to his line manager on 2 nd September 2014. He submitted that in consequence of his contended for protected disclosure he suffered the following penalisations in the period...

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