Posted: April 22nd, 2018
A €32,000 workplace bullying compensation award to a Limerick based Tesco Security Guard has been overturned by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) at the Labour Court.
The individual was employed by Noonan Services Group Limited at the Co Limerick Tesco store. The initial compensation award was made in relation to a complaint regarding a dispute the man had with the store management as he rehabilitated from knee surgery sustained in a previous workplace accident.
During his work shifts at the Tesco store, he would sit on a chair to review live security footage from security cameras.
The store management chose to remove the chair in order to tackle ‘shrinkage’, the practice of articles being stolen from the shop floor. It was hoped that removing the chair would force security staff to walk the aisles instead of sitting at the camera-station, acting as an additional deterrent.
When he asked for the chair to be returned to its original position his request was refused. He also supplied medical testimony that said standing for the entirety of his ten-hour shift he would greatly affect his recovery from his knee. As of November 2015, he ended his employment at the Tesco outlet in question and did not return to work there at any point after that.
At first the WRC had awarded him €32,000, €16,000 for loss of earnings due to going on prolonged leave, and another €16,000 due to his alleged bullying.
Tesco had argued, during the intial case, that the man was employed by Noonan’s and not Tesco. However, the initial ruling by the WRC adjudication officer found that it was right to name Tesco as the respondent as the store maintained considerable command and control over the security guard, regarding annual leave applications and the delivery of security reports for instance.
In the appeal hearing, Tescos claimed that Noonan’s is not an employment agency, as had been argued earlier, but is ‘a provider of managed services’. They maintained, successfully, that neither the Temporary Agency Work Act 2012, nor the Employment Agency Act 1971, applied to such suppliers of managed services.
After considering this the court overturned the original decision to award the man €32,000 in workplace bullying compensation.