Failure by employer to investigate complaints led to successful constructive dismissal award of €29,000

The Workplace Relations Commission recently awarded €29,000 to a claimant due to the failure of a company to investigate her complaints of mistreatment by her supervisor.

During the case, the claimant referred to several incidents of mistreatment that had occurred during her employment such as returning from annual leave to find that her desk had been emptied and not receiving her annual bonus. The employee subsequently resigned from her post after being told that she was being moved to a different unit in the business, which was effectively a demotion. In upholding the claim of constructive dismissal, the Adjudication Officer held that the employer’s failure to investigate the claimant’s persistent complaints amounted to a breach of mutual trust and confidence.

This case serves as a reminder to employer’s to ensure that they follow up on employee complaints, regardless of whether these are given verbally or in writing.  It is important that a company has a grievance procedure in place that sets out how complaints are managed. In the first instance, many companies (in line with their grievance procedure) will try and deal with the complaint at an informal level e.g. mediation. However, if the employee requests an investigation to take place or the informal approach has not been successful then the matter should be referred to the formal procedure. In addition, it is also advisable that managers receive training on how to handle employee complaints to ensure these are dealt with correctly.

For further information and advice on managing employee grievances you can review the SFA guideline or contact Ciara McGuone on 01 605 1668 or

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