Thursday 20 July 2017

Economist forced out by 'flawed' report, court told

Sick leave followed bullying claim

Tim Healy

A SENIOR economist in the Central Bank says his employer put him on long-term sick leave after improperly influencing a psychiatrist who deemed him unfit for work due to a personality disorder, the High Court heard yesterday.

John Delaney (48) says this was "fundamentally flawed" and he was examined by another psychiatrist who said he did not suffer from any disorder.

Mr Delaney, who was head-hunted by the bank and performed an important role in making quarterly returns for Ireland to the European Central Bank (ECB), claims that as a result of his effective suspension in July 2008, he was now on pension payments substantially less than the €108,000 a year he used to earn.

He claims his superiors bullied him and when his complaints about this were not upheld, they then improperly influenced a consultant psychiatrist to declare him unfit for work.

Mr Delaney is seeking a number of declarations, including that the decision to require him to be psychiatrically examined was directed at ousting him from his post on purported health grounds and was done without reasonable cause.

He is also seeking injunctions preventing the termination of his employment and restraining the bank from determining his psychiatric health in the absence of lawful authority.

The bank denies his claims and says it has acted fairly and reasonably.

Tensions

Yesterday, Mr Delaney's senior counsel Roddy Horan said his client had worked as a statistician on secondment to the EU in Luxembourg before he was head-hunted by the Central Bank in 2001. He was promoted to senior economist in 2002.

He received glowing appraisals for his work until 2004 when "certain tensions" arose between him and his then boss, Peter Charleton, over deadlines for submitting data to the EU, Mr Horan said.

In 2006, he made a complaint of bullying and harassment against Mr Charleton and later against Mr Charleton's successor, John Kelly, and other people within the bank over their handling of his complaint.

The complaint was investigated but not upheld. After this, it was claimed Mr Delaney was isolated within his workplace.

In October 2007, he received a letter from human resources saying the bank's management had concerns for his mental health and required him to see a consultant psychiatrist.

He attended the psychiatric appointment in December 2007.

Nearly six months later, the psychiatrist produced a report which found Mr Delaney had a paranoid personality disorder, or an emerging delusional disorder, and it was recommended he be put on sick leave. He was told not to return to work on July 7, 2008.

Mr Delaney says that before the psychiatrist issued his report, the bank had, in February 2008, sent the investigator's report into his bullying complaints to the psychiatrist.

This, he says, amounted to improperly seeking to influence the psychiatrist.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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