There is considerable reluctance on the part of the courts to grant orders that would bring workplace investigations to an end. However, they are prepared to intervene if they find that there has been a clear breach of contract or fair procedures which would significantly prejudice an employee. This section of the seminar will highlight some important recent case law governing workplace investigations.
  • The importance of an explicit invocation of the grievance procedure by aggrieved employees: Elmes and Others V Vedants Lisheen Mining Ltd and Others
  • When might an individual who is to be made subject to a disciplinary process have a right to have an input into the composition of the investigation team?: Conway v Health Services Executive
  • How precisely will evidence be challenged? Does this include a right of cross examination? : O’Leary V An Post
  • Bias and Pre-judgment: Joyce V The Board of Management of Colaiste Iognaid
Appeals in Disciplinary Procedures
  • “Substantial weight” to be attached to the recommendations of the disciplinary panel’s findings: Kelly V Board of Management of St. Josephs Schools
  • Will the courts intervene where, although an investigation report contains pre-judgment and findings arrived at in breach of fair procedures, issues of trust and confidence and reputational damage outweigh the shortcomings in the report? O’Leary Darcy V Lisdoonvarna Failte Limited
  • Can a plaintiff succeed in restraining a disciplinary inquiry pending the outcome of a criminal investigation?: Rogers V An Post
Suspensions
  • When might a “holding suspension” be justified?
  • Might delay in the progress of an investigation result in the suspension ceasing to be a “holding suspension”? Does the balance tip towards a requirement of procedural fairness in these circumstances? Canavan v Commissioner of an Garda Síochana
  • Length of suspension: Kinsella V Ulster Bank
  • Will the mere invocation of a “holding suspension” immunise that suspension from judicial examination as to its nature, effect and potential prejudice to an employee?