Sunday 4 December 2016

Economist wins case over 'forced' sick leave

Tim Healy and Patricia McDonagh

Published 16/04/2011 | 05:00

A SENIOR Central Bank economist who was deemed unfit for work yesterday won a High Court challenge against attempts by his employer to put him on long-term sick leave.

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John Delaney (48) is back on the payroll after claiming the bank had improperly influenced a psychiatrist, who later deemed him unfit for work.

The report by consultant psychiatrist Dr Damian Mohan said the economist had presented traits of a personality disorder or an emerging delusional disorder.

However, Mr Delaney said another psychiatric opinion he had obtained disputed this diagnosis and said he only had an adjustment disorder, which had been brought on against a background of workplace stress.

During the court case, Mr Delaney insisted he had not withdrawn from social interaction with his colleagues before management told him to see a psychiatrist.

He denied avoiding lunch in the bank's in-house restaurant -- insisting he always went to Mass at that time.

And he said he avoided the bank's morning 'coffee zone' because he was in dispute with one of his managers.

Complaint

The court heard that in 2006 Mr Delaney made an unsuccessful complaint of being bullied by his superiors and after it was rejected, he claimed he was given little to do and isolated.

He claimed his bosses then improperly influenced Dr Mohan to declare him unfit for work, by supplying the psychiatrist with the results of the bullying investigation.

He claimed that as a result of being forced to go on sick leave in July 2008, on foot of the bank's psychiatric report, he was reduced to living on pension payments which were just 40pc of his prior gross salary of €108,000 per year.

The bank denied his claims and said it had acted fairly.

But yesterday, Justice Mary Laffoy said she found the process under which Mr Delaney was referred to the psychiatrist was not conducted in accordance with his entitlement to fair procedures.

The decision to refer him was null and void and she said he should be restored to the bank's payroll and arrears paid to him.

She said she would hear submissions from the parties on this issue on May 3.

Irish Independent

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