The “almost unprecedented” sacking of a civil servant by the top of a authorities division, in opposition to recommendation from a specifically convened disciplinary panel to demote the person as a substitute, was unfair, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has dominated.
The transfer to dismiss the person was at odds with “natural justice”, WRC adjudication officer Michael McEntee wrote in a ruling printed on Thursday, by which he awarded the civil servant €40,000. A civil service Disciplinary Appeals Board (DAB) had beneficial demoting the person, a full-time govt officer with 12 years’ service, to the function of clerical officer after his head of personnel upheld complaints about his efficiency. But the secretary normal overturned the DAB resolution and dismissed the civil servant on the grounds of significant misconduct.
The man, whose annual wage on the time of his dismissal was €39,364, later sued the division for unfair dismissal on the WRC.
In the printed resolution Mr McEntee mentioned the complainant commenced his employment within the civil service in September 2006. Neither the complainant nor the division he labored for had been named within the ruling.
The complainant had advised the WRC that he beforehand labored at Revenue with none concern concerning the standard of his work and was “highly thought of” by former colleagues. But shortly after transferring to the division he started to expertise quite a few issues along with his new duties and superiors. In December 2017, he was positioned on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). Less than a 12 months later, on November twenty seventh, 2018, he was issued with a written warning about his efficiency. Then, in March 2019, the division’s human assets director beneficial the person’s dismissal after claiming there had been no enchancment in his efficiency “despite all supportive efforts [that] had taken place”.
The man appealed the choice to sack him to the DAB, which beneficial in June 2019 that demoting him to the grade of clerical officer could be the extra applicable measure. The secretary normal, nevertheless, intervened and, based on Mr McEntee “set aside the DAB recommendation and dismissed the complainant by letter of the 9th of August 2019 on the grounds of serious misconduct”.
In his submissions to the WRC, the person claimed his sacking had been “a completely disproportionate penalty” and that he had been the sufferer of bullying by his superiors. He additional claimed that the dismissal course of engaged in by the secretary normal “was in flagrant breach of all the rules of natural justice”. The secretary normal, he alleged, had failed to present him a possibility to “further state his case, especially when the ultimate penalty of dismissal was being imposed”. The man additionally advised the WRC that the “overturning of a DAB finding was extraordinary and almost unprecedented across the entire civil service”.
The secretary normal – who has since left the division – advised the WRC that the choice to sack the person was one he had “not taken lightly”. Described by Mr McEntee as a “most impressive witness”, the secretary normal mentioned he recognised that the overturning of the DAB discovering “was a far from trivial matter that carried serious repercussive effects across the entire civil service”.
However, he maintained the complainant had “serious performance flaws” in relation to accepting the “proper authority” of his superiors and following accepted work practices.
“On overall balance it was his view that the continued employment of the complainant was not in the best interests of the civil service and he had decided to opt for the dismissal decision,” the adjudication officer famous in his resolution.
“In cross-examination he [the secretary general] vigorously maintained that the dismissal decision was his alone and that he had not been subject to any external pressures or lobbying,” the WRC officer continued. He dominated, nevertheless, that the choice to dismiss the person went in opposition to “the highest standards of natural justice” which “the gravity of the situation required” and he had been unfairly dismissed.
Absolving the secretary normal of blame, Mr McEntee mentioned the civil servant was entitled to 54 weeks’ pay, or €40,878.
“It was a structural issue that was at fault – one person, albeit the most senior departmental officer, should not have been asked, bearing in mind all the possible natural justice complications, to make this decision which was, essentially, overturning a DAB finding,” he added. “Accordingly, a finding of unfair dismissal, on the grounds of natural justice, has to be made.”