Thursday 23 May 2019

Office manager awarded €50,000 for unfair dismissal

Bullying: The office manager alleged at the Workplace Relations Commission that she was subjected to vociferous hostile treatment
Bullying: The office manager alleged at the Workplace Relations Commission that she was subjected to vociferous hostile treatment

Gordon Deegan

A telecommunications firm has been ordered to pay €50,000 to an office manager who it unfairly dismissed after she complained of bullying.

A Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudication officer, Valerie Murtagh, found that the firm moved "very hastily" to dismiss the woman after she complained that a work colleague, Ms P, was bullying her.

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The office manager alleged at the WRC that she was subjected to vociferous hostile treatment by Ms P, who formerly acted as personal assistant to the company CEO and is now head of business relations.

The office manager first complained on May 19/20 2018, and on May 22 the firm's chief financial officer told her that her role was being made redundant due to changes at the Dublin office.

At the meeting, the CFO told the office manager "Sorry it has come to this".

In her findings, Ms Murtagh concluded that the bullying complaint impacted on the telecommunications firm taking swift action to affect the office manager's dismissal from the company "and thereby nullifying the complaints of bullying".

She concluded that the process adopted by the employer was "unfair, unreasonable and disproportionate" and coupled with this, the hastiness of the employer "in affecting a swift dismissal leads me to conclude that the dismissal was unfair".

Ms Murtagh said that she accepted the points made by the employer over the downsizing of the business in Dublin.

However, she found that the dismissal by reason of redundancy "was procedurally unfair and therefore has rendered the dismissal unfair". 

Ms Murtagh also found the redundancy process "was flawed on a procedural basis and poorly handled by management". She added that a reasonable employer would not have behaved in the manner adopted by the firm. 

Irish Independent

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