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Sunday 26 March 2017

Civil servant claims she was stalked during gallery visits

Irish Independent Reporters

A CIVIL servant spent time wandering around the National Gallery when she was supposed to be at work, claiming she was being "stalked".

Labour inspector Frances Carew (59) remained on full pay for five years despite doing very little work for that period, an Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) heard yesterday.

She was dismissed from the Department of Enterprise in 2009 but her bad attendance record went back as far as 2003.

Ms Carew, from Lansdowne Village, Sandymount, Dublin 4, also started failing to clock in and out of work from 2004, the tribunal heard.

Summing up yesterday, tribunal chairman Niamh O'Carroll Kelly said the claimant had spent "five years going into work and doing nothing".

Ms Carew, who said she was on a net salary of €1,095 fortnightly, took the unfair dismissal case against the department in 2009. She told the tribunal she had been "stalked, harassed and intimidated" by colleagues but admitted she failed to engage with the department's personnel officers to discuss her situation until she heard her salary was being stopped in 2008.

Ms Carew, who is herself a former EAT employee, didn't even show up for the disciplinary hearing into her poor attendance, the tribunal heard.

'I knew that there was someone stalking me. It was nasty'

Shortly after moving to the EAT as a tribunal secretary, she started clocking into work early, leaving the office and then clocking out later.

"I had lost interest at that stage," she said. "I used to go to the National Gallery and I knew then there was someone stalking me. It was nasty."

Ms Carew told the tribunal that the intimidation and harassment included the opening of her personal post and the spreading of chocolate on her keyboard.

Counsel for the department, Cathy Smith, reminded the claimant she had failed to engage with her bosses despite many attempts to talk to her.

Ms Smith also reminded Ms Carew that she had enjoyed perks while working at the EAT: "You had the second highest rate of mileage amongst tribunal secretaries and three times that of the lowest levels," she said

Ms Carew claimed that shortly after her transfer to the EAT she started losing out on the most lucrative travel trips to parts of the country, and later began worrying that she was losing out on increments to her salary.

"I had been travelling to places like Cahirciveen, I love the south-west coast, but then I started getting trips to Louth."

The tribunal will rule on Ms Carew's case in the coming months.

Irish Independent

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