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Personal Injury

Night Club Assault by Girlfriend’s Brother Result in €4,000 Workplace Compensation for Garda

Posted: October 17th, 2018

Following being attacked by his no brother-in-law outside a Letterkenny nightclub, a Garda has been awarded €4,000 workplace injury compensation.

Garda Fintan Smith told High Court Judge Justice Michael Twomey that he was attacked and headbutted by the man. The initial attack left him with a black eye and nose bleed and lead to him falling on the footpath. Following this Garda Smith was sitting in the front seat of the Garda car and the attacker restrained in handcuffs in the back seat, awaiting transfer to Letterkenny Garda Station. At this point Garda Smith was kicked to the side of his head by the same man.

Garda Smith informed Judge Twomey that he no longer maintains a relationship with his now brother-in-law. He does have excellent relations with the other members of his wife’s family. Earlier in 2017, Garda Smith married his girlfriend and his attacker had been invited to the celebration but he did not attend on the day. In the aftermath of the incident Garda Smith said that he does his best to avoid any family occasion if he knows that his brother-in-law is also planning to be present.

Ms Fiona Crawford, legal counsel for Garda Smith, told the High Court her client had sustained an injured nose. X-rays showed that Garda Smith had not sustained a bone injury.

The incident, the High Court was told, had lead to a major amount of tension between Garda Smith and his then girlfriend. He was unable to attend work for a month due to the embarrassment the episode caused him. He said that he felt a lot of anger for a while after the attack. He then requested, and received, a transfer from Letterkenny to Ballybofey Garda Station. Garda Smith told the Judge that his now brother-in-law had been a known troublemaker when the attack occurred and was not the type of person who would respect the gardai.

In awarding workplace compensation of €4,000 for the injuries Garda Smith suffered, Judge Twomey stated that he believed Garda Smith’s opinion that brother-in-law had a negative attitude towards gardai.

WRC Awards Waitress €2k After Being Sacked Due to Tripadvisor Review

Posted: September 7th, 2018

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has upheld an unfair dismissal claim of a waitress who was on the spot due to a customer posting a negative comment on TripAdvisor complaining that “the red-haired waitress was abrupt”. The restaurant has been ordered to pay her €2,000 compensation.

The restaurant manager advised the WRC that he concurred with the waitress’s account regarding the dismissal and added that he had received an additional two complaints from customers and a further 20 complaints from other employees. He also accepted that he did not advise the waitress of these other complaints when he he advising he that her position of employment was terminated.

WRC Adjudication Officer Máire Mulcahy issued a ruling which stated that the use of the TripAdvisor review and the 20 alleged complaints “is not far short of mob rule in the workplace” when the waitress was not given the chance to examine the authenticity of them.

The ruling said that the “vox-pop” type comment on TripAdvisor that “the waitress with the red hair was abrupt” which the restaurant used as the basis to sack her “is very far removed” from the concept of “substantial grounds” to justify a dismissal as required by the Unfair Dismissal Act. Ms Mulcahy added that the waitress’s description of how her dismissal occurred is not being argued.

She said said: “There was no disciplinary procedure in the workplace. There was no process. No advance notice, no examination of the alleged complaints, no opportunity to be accompanied at the meeting which resulted in her dismissal, or right of appeal was afforded to the complainant.”

Ms Mulcahy stated that the waitress was denied a proper judicial process regarding her sacking.

The defendant advised the WRC, in her testimony that she feels that the real reason she was sacked was due to the support she gave to the manager’s partner in the break-up of their relationship.

The final WRC report on the case said that the restaurant boss has said sorry to the waitress for his actions.

 

Kepak Business Executive Award €7,500 Work Compensation for Overwork

Posted: August 3rd, 2018

A former Business Development Executive for Kepak Convenience Foods Unlimited Co, Gráinne O’Hara,  has been awarded €7,500 in relation to breaches of the Organisation of Working Time Act.

Ms O’Hara had to handle out-of-hours work emails, a number of which took place after midnight. These request let to extra work of over 48 hours a week on multiple occasions.

Her (Ms O’Hara’s) contract of employment with the Kepak firm stated that her working week was 40 hours. She told the Court that she normally worked close to 60 hours a week. To reinforce her claims, Ms O’Hara showed the Court emails that she sent to and/or received from her employers both before her start time and after her normal finish time.

In addition to this, Ms O’Hara showed the Court emails that she received from her employers prior to 8am. Ms O’Hara told the court she had requested from Kepak, but was was not provided with, a copy of all of her emails while she worked there.

Ms O’Hara was employed at Kepak, based at the Blanchardstown facility, from July 2016 to April 14th 2017.

In response to the claims, Kepak argued that the volume level of work given to Ms O’Hara was not unusual for their staff members. They added that no other staff members had worked longer that the 48 hours in a week.

The Labour Court ruled that Kepak did not provide all of the details of Ms O’Hara’s emails and gave no evidence to contradict her evidence.

The court found that Kepak acted in a manner not in line with the Organisation of Working Time Act by requiring Ms O’Hara to longer than 48 hours a week. They also said that Ms O’Hara’s complaint had a firm basis.

Ms O’Hara appealed the Adjudication Officer work injury compensation award of €6,240 to her. Ms O’Hara argued that this was an adequate amount of personal injury compensation “for the systemic nature of the breaches of the Act involved in the case”. The Labour Court amended the Adjudication Officer’s award by 20% to an overall figure of €7,500.

 

€47,500 in Unfair Dismissal Compensation for Former Cemetery Human Resources Manager

Posted: April 28th, 2018

The Workplace Relations Commission has ruled that the dismissal of a former human resources manager at a cemetery ‘both substantively and procedurally unfair’ and awarded him €47,500.

The HR manager being paid an annual salary of €51,500 when he was dismissed from his role in October 2016. He had worked at the cemetery since 1996. After being ill during March and April 2016 he went back to work and was told that a number of concerns had come up in connection with his work practices.

Following this he was placed on suspended from his role, with pay, from April to September of that year while an internal review of his actions was completed.

During a disciplinary hearing held by the deputy CEO of the cemetery on September 29, he was told he was being relieved of his position with immediate effect, due to his actions being classified as gross misconduct.

The former HR manager defended himself in the legal action, emphasising that he had a perfect disciplinary record before the ‘concern’ that were used as a basis for his dismissal.

These worries included the deletion of data from a company-owned hard drive, inadequate management of health and safety records and the way in which he dealt with the long-term absence of a colleague.

The mad claimed that he had removed the data from the hard drive due to a valid data request relating to the non-payment of bonuses for a period of two years. The data request in question had been overseen by the deputy CEO.

He also did not agree with the claim suggestion that he had mismanaged the prolonged absence of the other employee, saying that far from exposing the company to litigation or financial harm, he had actually saved the company from this.

Adjudication officer Eugene Hanly found that the criticism of the dismissed man’s actions was valid. However, he found in his favour in that there was insufficient grounds for the dismissal. He ruled that the company must pay the man €47,500 in unfair job dismissal compensation within six weeks of his finding.

€25,000 Garda Work Injury Compensation Award Approved

Posted: February 19th, 2018

A €25,000 Garda Work Injury compensation award has been approved following a head-butt attacked on a Wexford based Garda who suffered terrible snoring problems.

Sergeant Noel McSweeney experienced the injury to his nose when he was on duty. McSweeney’s snoring disturbed his wife’s sleep and he had to sleep in another room man times.

Barrister Ellen Gleeson told presiding Judge Justice Michael Twomey that, when when the incident occurred in May 2012, Sergeant McSweeney had been working on a missing person search.

Mr McSweeney said that the missing woman had been found in a car where she was intoxicated, possessing drugs and acting aggressively. She was taken into custody following this.

Speaking about the incident Sergeant McSweeney said: “She jumped back and threw her head backwards, hitting me in the nose and upper teeth”. He added that he suffered cuts to four of his upper front teeth and the line of his nose had been damaged. Mr McSweeney also suffered a restriction of the airflow through his nose along with a deviated septum in the assault.

Sergeant McSweeney also admitted that he was not conscious of the problem but did have to sleep in the spare room of his residence due to his snoring problems. He added that he only suffered minimal slight discomfort and, hence, he chose not to have surgery.

Judge Twomey referred to the Book of Quantum in assessing the amount of Garda Accident Compensation to be paid. He approved a compensation award of  €7,500 be paid for the minor dental damage along with €18,000 nose injury damages.

Right to Claim Garda Finger Injury Compensation Ruling is Appealed

Posted: January 26th, 2018

A Garda has appealed a refusal, by the Minister for Justice to allow him pursue a claim for Finger Injury Compensation for a injury he sustained in the line of duty.

Garda Noel Callan suffered a disfigured fingernail injury when a Garda car door slammed shut on his left small finger. He was, at the time of the incident, apprehending a drunk and violent man. His legal team are arguing that the Ministers refusal to allow him pursue a compensation claim as the injury was minor was incorrect and should be overturned.

Counsel for Garda Callan, Richard Kean SC, told the Hight Court that, as per the Garda Compensation Act, a member of the force who suffers an injury in the line of work may claim personal injury compensation through the courts.

Mr Kean argued that, though the injury suffered could not be termed profound or significant, it still should not be termed a minor injury. He added that the Justice Minister’s ruling was not sound and did not adequately take into account the medical reports that were produced at the initial hearing into the case.

The court was told that Garda Callan was also absent from work for the seven days immediately after the incident happened. He is right handed and received treatment on his left hand’s smallest finger.

Mr Callan lacerated his fingernail bed and his fingernail had to be removed. Following this he felt constant pain over the following eight months including a loss of sensation and tenderness when he was driving his car and completing other menial and non-work related duties.

The incident when he (Garda Callan) was on duty at Swords, Co Dublin, on August 26 2011.  Following a drunk man becoming violent, having being arrested in relation to public order offences, he struggled and a car door slammed down on Garda Callan’s left hand inflicting the fingernail injury.

The medical report referred to the fact that the fingernail was now irregular and deformed when it grew back. Garda Callan still suffers continual pain and tenderness, more so during times of colder weather.

The challenge was heard in the High Court last Wednesday. Judgement has been reserved judgment in relation to it.

Garda Awarded €30,000 Workplace Injury Compensation for Injury to Mouth

Posted: December 4th, 2017

Garda Sean Kelly (31) who is due to be wed this coming weekend, has been awarded €30,000 Garda Workplace Injury Compensation following an assaulted where he suffered a severe cut to his mouth.

Garda Kelly told the High Court that he is still sensitive in relation to the laceration on his upper lip and remarked to Mr Justice Bernard Barton he was still paranoid regarding the star-shaped scar. He was still able to find amusement with the presiding judge that he may have to wear some make-up when he gets married to his fiancé next Saturday.

The incident happened while he was at work on January 7 2012. As part of his duties, Garda Kelly had been called to a house in Finglas. Here a man, who had just been released from a psychiatric institution where he had been treated, was threatening to self harm. Garda Kelly was accompanied by two colleagues on the call in question

Garda Kelly told the court that the individual, who had swallowed a lot of non-prescriptive medication, had locked himself in his bathroom. From there he was threatening to throw himself out the bathroom window. Garda Kelly was struck on his mouth with a toilet brush holder, which lacerated his lip, when they tried to apprehend the man.

Garda Kelly had to be rushed to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown to tend to the bleeding. When he was treated, a portion of porcelain was found in his upper lip. X-rays clearly displayed that he had not suffered any major fractures.

He was also given an anaesthetic injection and received seven stitches, a number of them on the inside of his mouth. When the scar later became infected, he had to follows a course of antibiotics until the infection had cleared up. The scar on the exterior of his lip was identifiable at close quarters.

Barrister Derek Ryan, representing the Minister for Public Expenditure, remarked to the High Court that, due to conflicting medical reports, he did not believe Garda Kelly had suffered Post Traumatic Stress to the degree that it would justify an exceptional workplace compensation award.

Healthcare Workers Make Sexual Harassment Against Patients: RTE Report

Posted: November 28th, 2017

Five staff members in the State healthcare system took sexual harassment allegations over the last few years, claiming they were sexually assaulted by service users, according to a report published by RTE in November 2017.

The State Claims Agency has not made public actual details about where the supposed abuse happened in these or any other cases.

The claims relate to incidents that took place between 2012 and 2016 and make up almost half of all sexual harassment claims being taken care by the State Claims Agency on behalf of the State.

The State Claims Agency had, until recently, refused to release any information on these allegations.

There have been appeals from the Fianna Fail political party and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency to make available a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against separate public sector bodies. This comes after the initial refusal by the State Claims Agency to publish such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment allegations which it operates for the State.

Additionally, in November The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee wrote to Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan asking him to get behind a request for the data to be released to the public. As a result of this the State Claims Agency made available a small amount of information on the amount of claims. However, it did not reveal where the claims came from.

In a statement issued it was revealed that the State Claims Agency has managed 11 claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it said was “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also revealed that in six of the cases they’ve handled the alleged assailant and victim are both staff members. In the other five cases they said the person believed responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare area and the victim was a member of staff.

Sewerage Plant Worker Receives Compensation for Slip and Fall Injury

Posted: September 17th, 2017

A former worker at a sewerage plant has been awarded compensation for a slip and fall injury he suffered at work, after accepting some liability for the accident himself.

In February 2010, an employee at the Templemore sewerage plant in County Tipperary was working when he slipped and fell on a path while at work. A subsequent investigation discovered that the fall was due to sewerage overflowing from the flumes surrounding the inlet channels at the now decommissioned plant.

As a result of his accident, the employee suffered frequent headaches and sustained a back injury. The severity of the injury was such that he was prevented from adequately performing his job at the plant, and thus could not return to work. He sought legal counsel, and applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a slip and fall injury at work. However, the defendants-the party responsible for the sewerage plant, Templemore Town Council-denied consent to assess the claim.

As a result, the former employee of the plant sought authorisation from the Injuries Board to pursue his claim in court. This authorisation was granted, and a hearing to determine liability and assess damages took place last week at the High Court. The case was heard by Mr Justice Raymond Fullam. The judge was informed that the employee worked alone at the time of the accident, and that no safe system of work had been implemented by the council for the workers at the sewerage plant.

The council defended the claim for compensation for a slip and fall injury at work by arguing one of the employee´s duties was to keep the paths clear of hazards. They further stated that if he needed additional tools to complete his duties, he should have asked for them from his superiors. The council contested that the employee´s accident had occurred due to his own lack of care and negligence, and thus denied all liability.

Judge Fullam agreed with the defendants that the employee was partially responsible for his accident, and therefore he should take some responsibility. However he accepted the employee´s evidence that frequently the pumps in the plant experienced issues, and he did not have time to clean the paths on a regular basis. Judge Fullam also acknowledged that flumes surrounding the inlet channels were in a bad state on the day of the accident.

The judge said that he would have awarded the plaintiff €79,000 compensation for a slip and fall accident at work, however he was reducing the award by 40% to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence. The adjusted settlement of the claim consequently amounted to €47,400.

Woman Receives Compensation for Chair Collapse

Posted: March 14th, 2017

A broken restaurant chair accident claim has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court in favour of a woman who suffered a soft tissue back injury.

In May 2014, the thirty-four year old woman was dining in the company of her friends at the China Kitchen restaurant in Beaumont. While they were eating, one of the legs of her chair became detached. The chair collapsed beneath her. The woman manged to save herself from impact with the floor, but in doing so she twisted her back in such a way that she felt immediate and intense pain. A waiter saw the incident and came to her assistance. However, rather than find her a safe chair, he tried to repair the broken one.

Due to the tenderness and pain across her lower lumbar region, the woman-who worked as a cleaner-attended her GP and was prescribed painkillers. Although the painkillers helped, she also had to attend physiotherapy sessions. She continued to experience intermittent pain in her back after working in her job as a cleaner or after sitting for long periods. She claimed that the pain she endured severely impacted upon her life.

The woman sought legal counsel, and made a broken restaurant chair accident claim against the owners of the China Kitchen restaurant – Xwfx Limited. The claim alleged that the restaurant had been negligent in providing her with a dangerous chair, and therefore were directly responsible for her injuries.

The owners of the establishment failed to respond to the Injuries Board request for consent to conduct an assessment. They further failed to attend a subsequent court hearing to defend the broken restaurant chair accident claim made against them. The woman consequently obtained a judgement in her favour in default of appearance.

When the broken restaurant chair accident claim was presented to Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court, the judge was told that it was for the assessment of damages only. After hearing details of the woman´s accident and her subsequent injury, Judge Linnane awarded the woman €17,500 in settlement of her broken restaurant accident claim.

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