Employment Law

Local authority directed to pay employee over €50,000 by Workplace Relations Commission

By October 4, 2023 No Comments
Workplace Relations Commission

Workplace Relations Commission finds that Kerry County Council failed, for a period of seven years, to undertake straight

forward and inexpensive steps which would have allowed an employee with back trouble to return to full time work.

Back trouble

The local authority employee, Ms Mary McGaley, developed back trouble in 2016. She was signed off as unfit to work until May 2017. However, a phased returned was recommended along with adjustments to her working practices and workstation, such that she could eventually return to full-time work, with the necessary adjustments.

When she returned to work, none of the workstation modifications had been made, nor had any of the equipment recommended by medical practitioners been provided. Further medical assessments followed and recommendations were made, but not implemented. A chair was recommended but the incorrect one purchased and Ms McGaley was not reimbursed for equipment she had to purchase.

She followed the internal complaints procedures, to no avail. She made an internal complaint in May 2018 and has still not received a final outcome decision. She brought her claim before the Workplace Relations Commission . In that complaint, she alleged that her employer had breached the Employment Equality Act. It was heard before an adjudicator appointed by the WRC.

Determination of the adjudicator

The adjudicator determined the complaint made by Ms McGaley and issued its determination, finding that the local authority’s failure, thus far, to take the necessary steps so that she could return to full time work was egregious.

The council was ordered to pay Ms McGaley a sum of €50,255 to compensate her for her losses. The council was also directed to put in place the rostering recommendations made by Ms McGaley’s GP in 2019. The council was also directed to provide all of the equipment recommended within a period of six weeks.

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