Background to the Complaint
The employee was hired under a fixed term contract as a bus driver with other general operative duties.
The employee complained to the Manager that one of the other drivers would not speak to him and only laughed at him. The employee also notified the Manager that the other driver was not carrying out his duties properly.
The Manager told the employee to keep a record of any further incidents.
The employee put in three transfer requests due to alleged bullying but he was not moved.
After a formal complaint by the employee in 2002 against the other driver for bullying, a formal investigation was carried out.
The investigators found that there was no bullying but they did recommend that either the employee or the other driver should be moved into another area in the workplace.
They also recommended that both parties be consulted about the issue.
The employee then went out on sick leave but returned to work and requested a review of the investigators report.
This review did not happen and the employee resigned soon afterwards.
The Company informed the Tribunal that all the employee’s complaints were investigated.
The Company explained that as the employee went out on sick leave when the investigators report was issued, it was not necessary to roster the employee and the other driver separately.
The Company did not carry out all of the investigators recommendations and gave various reasons for this.
EAT Decision that Constructive Dismissal Did Occur
The Tribunal found that the employee had been constructively dismissed and the employee was awarded €12,500 under the Unfair Dismissal Acts, 1977 to 2001.
It should be noted that in order for a employee to successfully establish that he was constructively dismissed, he must prove that the employer breached the employment contract or that the employer acted so unreasonably that the employee was entitled to resign.
This case is an important illustration to all employers of the necessity not only to follow through with all employees’ complaints but also to carry out all of the investigators recommendations in order to minimise or avoid liability.
Case: Henry v The Commissioner for Public Works in Ireland