Irish News

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Ex-college lecturer was bullied out of job, tribunal told

Grainne Cunningham

Published 10/11/2012|05:00

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A COLLEGE lecturer was asked to "babysit" a class of students and to teach subjects for which he was not qualified in an effort to "humiliate" him professionally, an Employment Appeals Tribunal has heard.

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Eamon Byrne is claiming he was constructively dismissed by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) after a series of "bullying" events by his senior manager Kevin Byrne.

His legal team told the hearing that had Eamon Byrne taught the classes for which he was unqualified, it could only "have led to his being held up to ridicule from a professional perspective".

His barrister, Oliver Costello, said Eamon Byrne's case would also be that the college had instituted "spurious disciplinary actions" against his client which had not followed the college's own protocol for such actions.

Counsel for DIT, Conor Power, said that the college would maintain that Eamon Byrne had retired at the end of 2010 and had sought clarification of and accepted a severance package which included a lump sum of €115,000 and an annual pension of €38,000.

Mr Power accepted that Eamon Byrne had certain "difficulties" at work arising out of his refusal to undertake a "babysitting" function for a class.

Mr Power said that he had been asked to supervise a particular class and had refused to do so when instructed to by his line manager, Kevin Byrne.

There followed a meeting at which Eamon Byrne was given a verbal warning and, at that stage, he resigned.

Mr Power took issue with the assertion by Eamon Byrne's legal team that there had been a series of internal issues leading up to his departure.

He said there was a grievance over moving from a particular office and also over his superior's demand to see some proof of a hospital appointment.

Vision

Giving evidence, Eamon Byrne said he had been "seduced" into the college because it was looking for candidates who were highly qualified academically.

The court heard how Eamon Byrne held the position of Head of Department (Acting) but stepped down from that role when he found that his vision for the department was at odds with that of his superiors.

After he stood down from this position in 2008, Kevin Byrne was appointed to Head of Department. Eamon Byrne admitted that there were tensions between the two of them.

He said he believed Kevin Byrne had "a severe hang-up" about the position he had held.

The hearing will continue before the tribunal on March 6 and 7, 2013.

Irish Independent

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