Work Injury in Ireland

In order to claim compensation for work injury in Ireland, it has to be established that you or a loved one suffered an injury due to the negligence of an employer or person who had responsibility for providing you with a safe environment in which to work. Making compensation claims for work injury in Ireland should have no effect on your working relationship with your employer, but in order to ensure your employment protection, you are advised to discuss the circumstances of your work injury in Ireland with one of our professional and courteous solicitors.

Tie pin Accident Injury results in €12,000 Work Injury Compensation Award for Garda

Posted on: April 8th, 2021

€12,000 workplace injury compensation has been awarded to a garda whose forearm was injured during a fighting incident by a colleague’s tiepin at the High Court.

Legal counsel for Garda Nadine Keane Barrister Maria Lane informed the High Court that her client was in the process of assisting another garda restrain two men involved in a fight outside Ennis Courthouse when the tiepin in question hit her right forearm, inflicting a serious injury.

Appearing with O’Gorman Solicitors, Ms Keane infirmed presiding Judge Justice Mary Rose Gearty that Garda Keane had her injuries tended to at Ennis General Hospital after the incident. It took a total of 13 seri-strips to close the wound and she (Ms Keane) was left with a 6.5cm keloid scar on her forearm. She added that this wound had caused her embarrassment for up to four years.

In 2016, two years after the incident, consultant plastic reconstructive surgeon and anaesthetist Mr Eoin O’Broin reviewed tha wound and found that the scar on her forearm was thickened and red. He said that he was of the opinion that the only treatment that might help address the colour of the scar was laser therapy. Garda Keane had applied bio oil to try to enhance the condition of the scar which was “relatively obvious and unsightly.” The oil only had a minimal effect and Garda Keane was self-conscious of how the scar looked.

She informed Judge Gearty that on October 1, 2014, she had gone to the local courthouse in Ennis, Co Clare, where she was working. A fight began between two men and she had been called to help another Garda in restraining them.

During the struggle her right forearm had got caught another Garda’s tiepin which had cut into her arm. After have treatment administered at the hospital she opted to take three days leave. Judge Gearty told the Court that Garda Keane’s arm had been bleeding and she had been left in a faint condition prior to being taken to hospital. At the hospital the wound had been closed and no further treatment had been advised.

Judge Gearty said: “The scar was more ugly than one might anticipate and was red in colour and relatively obvious and unsightly. A forearm scar is obviously not equivalent to a facial scar and her injury is much less obvious now than it was for the first four years after the incident.”

Judge Gearty, as he was awarding Garda Keane €12,000 workplace compensation, said she had been injured in an unfortunate incident and the court was taking into consideration her embarrassment for the previous four years.


High Court: FBD Insurance Must Pay Covid-19 Business Disruption Compensation to Four Pub Owners

Posted on: February 5th, 2021

The High Court has ruled that four pub owners are entitled to be compensated by Insurer FBD for the disruption their businesses suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The legal action was taken following a dispute between FBD and policy holders when the insurance company said it would not provide policy holders with cover in relation to the pandemic that lead to the initial closure of businesses during mid-March 2020. Due to this disagreement four test actions were taken by Dublin bars Aberken, trading as Sinnotts Bar; Hyper Trust Ltd, trading as ‘The Leopardstown Inn’ and ‘Inn on Hibernian Way’ Ltd trading as Lemon & Duke. and Leinster Overview Concepts Ltd the owner of Sean’s Bar, which is located in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

The publicans argued against the FBD Insurance Plc’s refusal to indemnify them and the stance that its policies of insurance provided did not relate to the disruption caused to businesses by Covid-19. Judgement was due to be delivered during January. However this was deferred in order for the parties involved make submissions to the court arising out of a judgment from the UK’s Supreme Court where similar issues were dealt with.

In the legal action the pub owners argued that, as per their policies of insurance with FBD, they are entitled to have their consequential losses covered by an insurable risk and that the insurer was in breach of contract by refusing to pay out on the policy. They argued, through their legal teams, that a clause was included in the FBD policies that states the pubs will be indemnified if their premises were closed by order of the local or Government Authority if there are “Outbreaks of contagious or infectious diseases on the premises or within 25 miles of same.”

Refuting these arguments, FBD informed the judge that they were of the belief that the business closures did not arise due to an outbreak of disease at the premises or areas where the pubs are located and added that it (FBD) has never provided cover for pandemics and no-one in Ireland has ever requested such cover. FBD’s legal argument went as far as claiming that the general insurance market in Ireland does not insure against pandemic-like events. Such cover is only made available by specialist brokers, mos tof which are based in other jurisdictions, on a bespoke basis.

As the policy provided by FBD makes provision for business losses to pubs that have been ordered to shut due to the pandemic, the knock-on effect of the ruling made by Justice Denis McDonald could be compensation paid out to around 1,000 Irish pubs and restaurants. Justice McDonald’s judgement delivered found that FBD’s interpretation of its policy, that cover is not lost where the closure is prompted by nationwide outbreaks of disease provided that there is an outbreak within the 25 mile radius and that outbreak is one of the causes of the closure, is not correct.

Following the ruling the judge said that the issue of quantifying the specific losses will be managed in due time.

A representative for FBD released a statement which said: We understand the significant challenges our public house insurance policyholders currently face. FBD will arrange interim payments to affected policyholders while awaiting final clarity on quantum. We will now consider the effects of the judgment with our reinsurers and will revert to the market in due course on the estimated net cost of Covid-19 related business interruption claims to the company. We expect the cost to be well within the range of considered financial outcomes, with FBD remaining strongly capitalised. FBD believes that the court process was the fairest way to reach a resolution in this matter and tried to ensure that proceedings were as quick and efficient as possible for all concerned.

Licensed Vintners Association chief executive Donal O’Keeffe released a statement which said that the four publicans who took the test cases “deserve enormous credit, as their action will prove critical to pubs with similar policies right around Ireland”.

He added: “It was grossly unfair that these family businesses had to go to the High Court against the might of a publicly-quoted insurer to have their claims validated. We are now calling on insurers to quickly review their business-interruption policies in light of today’s decision and to promptly pay all valid claims.”

Bus Depot Falls results in €69,000 Compensation Award for Bus Éireann Employee

Posted on: October 2nd, 2020

At the High Court €69,000 work injury compensation has been awarded to a Bus Éireann employee who suffered an injury in an accident at a bus depot.

The work in question, Mark Seery, fell over a ground brake bar that was put in place to being buses to a halt. 51-year-old Mr Seery from Cloonlara Drive, Finglas, Co Dublin took the work accident compensation claim against Bus Éireann in relation to the accident that took place at around 3.45am on April 24, 2016 at Broadstone bus garage.

During the hearing Justice Cross said that he believed the testimony provided by Mr Seery’s engineer that the ground brake bar represented a significant trip hazard. This hazard was removed from its position following Mr Seery’s incident and replaced with bollards.

Working as a lead hand engineering operative with Bus Éireann, Mr Seery informed  the court he had parked a bus in a bay at the depot and was returning to move another bus when he fell. As it was night time the area was dark and there were no lights on. The court was informed that sensor lighting has since been put in place at the depot bay area. He said: “I tripped and fell against the wheel brace of another bus.”

He went on say that he has not ha a day without pain since the accident. he attended his GP for soem treatment due to pain in the hip and numbness in his leg and was later diagnosed with chronic pain. He commented: “The pain never went away. There is no rhyme or reason to why pain strikes or eases off. I have been told this is the way it is going to be.”

In the legal action submitted Mr Seery stated that there was an alleged failure to provide and maintain any adequate lighting in the area of the metal bar and the location of the metal bar was hidden by the shadows cast by buses parked nearby – as a result of this there was inadequate lighting.

Bus Éireann refuted the claims and alleged that there was an element of contributory negligence on the part of Mr Seery due to the fact that he allegedly had not taken ample care to identify any danger in the area. In relation to this Mr Justice Cross said that Bus Éireann were operation a workplace that essentially required Mr Seery to work in the dark. “He was going about his task to get another bus . I don’t believe he can be faulted for contributory negligence.”

Delivering his judgement Mr Justice Cross said it is probable that Mr Seery will continue to suffer some pain for the remainder of his life and and he (Mr Seery) is to be congratulated for his diligence in continuing to work. Justice Cross said that he found Mr Seery to be a truthful defendant and added “it is to his credit that he is no complainer and gets on with his work.”

The overall amount of workplace compensation awarded to Mr Seery was €69,725 and included more than €24,000 in special damages.

Broken Glass Accident Leads to €50,000 Inadequate Safety Training Compensation for Waitress by court

Posted on: July 22nd, 2020

A waitress who suffered a hand injury after a glass she was polishing broke has been awarded €50,000 work injury compensation at the CIircuit Civil Court.

It was ruled that 24-year-old former waitress Daniela Tricolici should have been given adequate safety training in relation to polishing wine glasses by her them employers Ravellos Restaurant in Clonsilla in 2015.

Presiding Judge John O’Connor said in awarding Ms Tricolici €25,000 damages and her legal costs that: “I am satisfied on the balance of probability that the defendant in this case was negligent. There was no training provided and it should have been.”

Judge O’Connor said he was happy to rule that the defendant, ABE Restaurant Limited, Weaver’s Row, Clonsilla, had been negligent due to the fact that appropriate training for Ms Tricolici had not been provided.

Ms Tricolici, with at an address at Ravenswood Road Clonsilla, is now working in a bank. SHe told the Court that the stem of the glass had broken as she polished it in the bar area of the restaurant on September 18, 2015 and punctured her left little finger.

Giving evidence in the hearing, forensic engineer Conor Murphy informed the court that Ms Tricolici had shown him how she was polishing the glass with a towel when the accident took place. He commented that she (Ms Tricolici) should have been trained initially how to do it safely. Mr Murphy said Ms Tricolici, as indicated in a photograph provided to the court, had grasped the base of the wine glass in one hand while polishing the bowl with her other hand in a twist and turn fashion when the stem had snapped.

When questioned by barrister Conor Kearney, who was appearing alongside with Seamus Maguire Solicitors for Ms Tricolici, he said that the waitress had clearly been polishing the glass incorrectly and should have been stopped by her employer and shown how to do it properly.  He said that if Ms Tricolici had been cupping the bowl of the glass in one hand while using the polishing cloth with her other hand it was unlikely that the glass would have snapped and injured her as it did on the day in question.

Legal representatives for the defendant argued against this that there is no specific provision in legislation or a particular manual related to glass polishing, nor had he had seen proper and safe methods of glass polishing demonstrated on video by glass manufacturers. Additionally it was claimed that it would be imposing a massive burden on an employer to ask them to train someone when there was no accepted official training regime or accepted pattern of training in existence as to how a particular task should be carried out.

Following the accident the woman was taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, for the wound to be treated. Here it was discovered that she had been left with a small scar and that damage to a nerve in her finger had not properly mended. She suffers from hypersensitivity in the area of the injury to this day.


COVID-19 Compensation Claims from Meat Plant Workers Likely Due to ‘Fundamental Problems’

Posted on: June 2nd, 2020

Claims have been made that meat processing plant workers were put in a position where they had to go back to work regardless of the fact that co-workers had clear COVID-19 symptoms.

Recent reports have indicated that over 600 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the meat processing sector.

Deputy general secretary of trade union SIPTU, Gerry McCormack, said that some meat processing plants “completely ignored” HSE guidelines on Covid-19. He said: “What seems to have happened is that some employers really didn’t take this seriously. Some of them did. Some employers completely ignored the recommendations from the HSE on how to do physical distancing and put in proper processes to protect workers.”

He added: “If you contrast, for example, the meat industry with the dairy industry which are both providing food throughout this country and abroad and we have very little, if any, outbreaks in the dairy industry. It’s a well paid, well-regulated industry, as compared to the meat industry. We had a problem from the very beginning in that some employers weren’t taking this seriously.”

In addition to this, in the Dáil former minister and independent TD Denis Naughten has said that he discovered clusters of infection surrounding meat plants “where the levels of infection within the plants themselves is up on one third or, in some instances, half of the workforce”. He went on to say that he found evidence to suggest that meat processing plant staff did not self-isolate in the period between being tested and the results being returned which seriously undermines the validity of the negative results.

He submitted a Dáil question to ask Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to explain how this situation was able to taker place at meat processing plants.

Mr Naughten said that not tackling this development could result in many other problems. He said: “Ahead of the start of reopening the economy next week we must address the fundamental problems within the meat processing sector which could be replicated in other parts of industry and which could be catastrophic.”

“These failures in the system have resulted in new infection clusters in communities across the country which up to now had low levels of Covid-19 infection. If these fundamental issues are not addressed immediately, in advance of the easing of the lockdown next Monday, then we could very quickly be looking at a second spike in Covid-19 infections.

“After such heroic efforts by every citizen in the State to stop the spread of this virus we cannot allow a second wave of infection under any circumstances. So, while we must remain cautious in how we relax restrictions, we must also learn to live with Covid-19 which will be with us for a considerable time to come.”


PTSD Disclosure Statement Issued to External Facebook & YouTube Content Moderators

Posted on: January 26th, 2020

Reports have been filed in the US and Europe revealing that Accenture, a professional services company that provides external professional services globally, has sent disclosure forms to new hires and existing staff that state that they are fully aware of the possibility that the content they must view as part of the duties may result in them suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The disclosure statement is said to read: “I understand the content I will be reviewing may be disturbing. It is possible that reviewing such content may impact my mental health, and it could even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

Accenture contractors are employed as external outside monitors for social media sites. The are typically given duties including deleting any inappropriate content. In order to accomplish this task they must view and hear disturbing posts of a violent or sexual in nature. A normal day’s work would include these moderators considering the inappropriate nature of objectionable materials and having to look over hundreds of disturbing images.

This move comes as Facebook is readying itself for coming legal battles with former content moderators that were submitted due to the PTSD they are suffering from due to the content they had to view as part of their daily duties. Legal actions have been initiated in California and Ireland.

The disclosure statements were sent out to Accenture employees in the United States and Europe to complete. Exiting members of staff were issued with the statement in the form of an update. Accenture has three content moderation offices for Facebook in Europe based in Warsaw, Lisbon and Dublin, where workplace safety rules are some of the most stringent globally and include protections for mental health issues.

The form states that “no job is worth sacrificing my mental or emotional health” and that “this job is not for everyone” and includes suggesting that individuals who suffer with mental health struggles due to work might not fit in at at Accenture. There is no provision made, in that statement, to say that Accenture will, as required by federal law, make reasonable accommodations for employees who become disabled due to the duties of their job.

Facebook and Google, YouTube’s parent company have both released statements claiming that they were not asked to approve or review Accenture’s new disclosure form. However, both stated that they direct their professional service suppliers to provide psychological support for content moderators.

The disclosure forms included details of support services that are provided by Accenture such as a hotline and a wellness coach. However it was detailed that these services are not managed by professionally trained experts as, according to Accenture, they “cannot diagnose or treat mental disorders”.

Accenture has also issued a statement in relation to the move which claims the health and said the wellbeing of its contractors is was a “top priority” and added that only new joiners were being asked to complete the forms, whereas current employees were being sent the form as an update. The statement outlined: “We regularly update the information we give our people to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the work they do”.

Social media moderators should not complete this form without consulting with a solicitor first as doing so may impinge on their right to pursue a compensation claim for any future suffering caused by their work duties.

More Social Media Moderator Claims Likely as Man (53) files claim against Facebook

Posted on: December 4th, 2019

The first of a number of social media moderator claims has been submitted in Dublin today.

Chris Gray, who was previously employed CPL solutions for a contract as a content moderator with Facebook has submitted a action seeking damages against both the social media giant and the contracting agency due to, what he claims are, psychological injuries he suffered arising out his work duties. These duties, he alleges, included viewing ‘extremely disturbing, graphic and violent content’.

Mr Gray filed his compensation action today at the High Court, claiming that the “very disturbing” photographs and videos, including executions, lethal beatings, stonings, whippings, the abuse of children, animal torture and extreme sexual content” that he had to view during his time moderating Facebook content lead to the psychological injuries.

In addition to viewing the disturbing content, there was more pressure to make the correct decision regarding the suitability of the content to be allowed to be published on Facebook. The expected work outcome was a 98 per cent accuracy rating. Mr Gray said that he had eventually become “numb and desensitised” to the content and increasingly irritable, sensitive, argumentative and aggressive.

Facebook’s network of content moderators includes 15,000 based at various locations around the world. These people are charged with the task of reviewing all content published on the platform in order to remove inappropriate graphic content.

53-year-old Mr Gray said that he became conscious of a “slow creep” in that his “personal and political views were becoming increasingly influenced by the insidious content he was required to view.” He claims that that he developed difficulty sleeping due to the terrible dreams that were caused by the disturbing content he witnessed and would often wake during the night “with a fright, concerned not by the content, but by whether or not he had marked it correctly during his shift”.

Coleman Legal Partners, Dublin, are representing Mr Gray. It is predicted that this is just the first of many of this type of legal action in Ireland. A United Kingdom-based not-for-profit group, Foxglove is supporting the the legal action. They have been involved in a campaign to have Facebook improve the conditions that the works must operate in.

Mr Gray referenced an absence of adequate support and training provided for staff which would allow them to manage “what seemed like a relentless flow of extreme and graphic material”. He alleged that that this absence of support had a huge impact on him and resulted in him being unable to discuss work-related issues with his superiors in a calm and professional way.

Responding to the submission of the legal action a Facebook representative said that the company was aware that “reviewing certain types of content can sometimes be difficult”. However she claimed that the company is allowing for training and full-time support to moderators along with technical solutions to control the amount of graphic material they must view and said “this is an important issue and we are committed to getting this right.” CPL was unavailable for comment.

Catering Employee Awarded €30k after Being ‘Sexually Harassed’ by Chef

Posted on: October 17th, 2019

An order to pay €30,000 has been made in relation to a facilities company after a female catering assistant claimed she had her bottom pinched by a chef/manager in just one of a range of sexual harassment incidents involving the senior male member of staff.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Adjudication Officer, Catherine Byrne, commented when she was delivering her decision: “As an instance of sexual harassment, a pinch on the bottom may not be at the extreme end of the scale, but it is well within the definition of unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature. It was also at the end of a continuum of incidents including a punch in the ribs, being sniffed at, constant unwanted touching and making offensive sexual remarks about the complainant to her husband.”

The Adjudication Officer calculate the €30,000 award as 18 months income for the worker in question. The firm provides catering services at the offices of a government department.

The Polish worker submitted a complaint of sexual harassment to her employer in relation to the bottom pinch to her employer on the day the incident occurred, February 1 2018.  The chef/manager refuted the allegations and counter-claimed he had a sanitiser bottle in his hand and that the bottle brushed up against the female. Following an investigation by the employer the chef’s claims were accepted, as was his explanation of  other issues raised by the female worker and by the extended team. Following this the employees filed the complaint to the WRC.

When she was making her final ward, Byrne stated that she was of the opinion that the catering assistant was telling the truth when she said that the chef/manager touched her bottom. She remarked: “It is my view that the effect of the sexual harassment suffered by the complainant was compounded by the failure of the respondent to give any credence to her evidence and I find that, of itself, this demonstrated a lack of respect for her. To compensate for this treatment, I decide that the respondent is to pay the complainant compensation of €30,000, which is equivalent to 18 months’ wages.”

€290,000 Workplace Knee Injury Compensation Awarded to Garda Sergeant Injured During Struggle

Posted on: June 14th, 2019

Garda Sergeant Donal Cronin has been awarded a €290,000 workplace injury compensation settlement after he suffered a knee injury during a violent struggle with a prisoner.

The 50-year-old garda could not carry out his required policing duties as a result of the knee injury and, he claimed, missed out on potential promotions due to this. The overall personal injury compensation figure awarded to the garda was €286,630. The incident happened when he was involved in the struggle that occurred at Limerick Circuit Court on July 9, 2004.

Justice Bernard Barton was told that Sergeant Cronin had passed the examinations that he needed to be promoted to the inspector rank with distinction in 2001. Regardless of this was unsuccessful in both rounds of promotion interview board competitions in 2010 and in 2014.

The Judge was advised that the Garda was, after a time, appointed to the role of court presenter – a position that he could perform despite the difficulties suffered from due to his injuries.

Sergeant Cronin’s legal counsel claimed that he was passed over for promotion due to his injuries. Along with this, they informed the Judge, he would probably need an operation for a knee replacement within the coming 24 months.

Among those who gave testified in Court a former chief superintendent who claimed that the score Sergeant Cronin had achieved from the interview board for promotion was excellent but the system was “unfit for purpose” as it did not make take consider the injuries sustained when a candidate was suffering from a disability.

This claims were denied by a sergeant garda representing the minister for finance and public expenditure. He added that there was no obvious reasoning to think that the injuries suffered on duty were an obstacle to the promotion to the rank of inspector.

In addition to this he said that it was not untypical for a candidate coming from an administrative post without major operational frontline experience to be given the post of inspector and that said the promotion procedure was heavily regulated. The interview board is not privy to a candidate’s medical records as part of the promotion process – just four of 17 sergeants in the Limerick division were successful in their application for promotion to inspector, two of which were for administrative roles.

An estimated figure for Sergeants Cronin’s compensation incorporating future loss of income due to being passed over for promotion of €166,630 was handed over to the court. In addition to this he was awarded an extra another €120,000 in general damages due to the serious injury his suffered to his left knee that lead to physical disability and ongoing pain and discomfort.

Justice Bernard Barton said he was happy with the award and said that he felt if Sergeant Cronin reapplied for promotion, his injuries would not hinder ” a successful outcome”.

Student Settles Injury at Work Compensation with Chinese Restaurant

Posted on: December 8th, 2018

A student who was burned by hot oil, when he unknowingly sat on a bucket of freshly discarded bucket of it, has settled his an injury at work compensation against the Chinese takeaway he worked at the High Court action.

The 29-year-old man, Umesh Maharjan, sustained major burns injuries when the oil splashed on his back and arm, Justice Michael Hanna was advised in the High Court. Mr Maharjan had to deal with significant pain and has been left with “grossly disfiguring” wounds due to the accident at the restaurant he was employed at in Co Wicklow.

A Fine Arts student, Mr Maharjan is originally from Kathmandu in Nepal and was working at the Rathnew Chinese Takeaway in Co Wicklow in order to finance his time in university. He is now living at the Dock Road, Limerick, and filed his Takeaway Injury Compensation action against Rathnew Restaurant and Takeaway Ltd in relation to the accident that took place on August 21, 2015.

Mr Maharjan’s legal team told Justice Hanna that he (Umesh) was taking a break outside the back of the Chinese takeaway where plastic buckets were stored. One of his colleagues had put a bucket full of hot cooking oil from a deep-fat fryer in the vicinity. Unfortunately, Mr Maharjan sat on top of the bucket in question and the lid shifted resulting in him falling  backwards and the oil spilling along his back and over his left arm.

The other people working at the Chinese restaurant came to his aid and applied water to the parts of his body that were burned before taking him to hospital. Sadly, Mr Maharjan suffered injuries and significant burns that will leave him carrying scars and wounds for the remainder of his life.

Justice Michael Hanna was told that liability had been withdrawn and the case in question was before the court for assessment of damages only due to the fact that legal representatives for both parties had agreed on a settlement and the case could be now be dismissed.

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

Posted on: October 16th, 2018

A Garda has been awarded €4,000 workplace injury compensation after being attacked by his now brother-in-law outside a Letterkenny nightclub.

Garda Fintan Smith told High Court Judge Justice Michael Twomey that he was headbutted by the individual causing him to suffer a black eye and nose bleed. He added that following the initial attack he was sitting in the front of the Garda car when the same person, who was restrained in handcuffs in the in the rear seat, kicked him to the side of the head.

The Judge was informed that Garda Smith no longer has anything to do with his now brother-in-law, despite having ideal relations with the rest of his in-laws. Earlier this year he married the man’s sister and, despite being invited he (the assailant) his not turn up to the event. Due to the incident Garda Smith tries to avoid any family occasion if he knows that his brother-in-law is planning to be in attendance.

Legal counsel for Garda Smith, Ms Fiona Crawford, told the High Court her client had been unfortunate to have sustained an injured nose. Subsequent X-rays had revealed that Garda Smith had not suffered a bone injury.

The incident, the High Court was told, had lead to a significant amount of stress between Garda Smith and his partner. Due to the attack he missed a month of work due to the embarrassment caused. He then sought, and received, a transfer from Letterkenny to Ballybofey Garda Station. The entire episode caused Garda Smith to feel a lot of anger. He told the Judge that his now brother-in-law had been a known troublemaker at the time of the incident and was not the sort of person who would respect the gardaí or the work that they do.

Judge Twomey awarded Garda Smith workplace compensation of €4,000 for the injuries he sustained and said that believed Garda Smith’s contention that brother-in-law had a negative attitude towards gardai.

Specsavers Ordered to Pay Former Staff Member €12,000 Wrongful Sacking Compensation

Posted on: September 20th, 2018

The Letterkenny Specsavers branch has been directed to pay €12,000 wrongful dismissal compensation by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to a Muslim woman who was sacked from her job the day after the Manchester terrorist attack in 2017.

The WRC delivered a ruling against the Specsavers Ltd based in Letterkenny that said it had discriminated against Amina Ferrah, using her religion as justification. Adjudication Officer Emer O’Shea said she was happy to make the ruling as the evidence pointed to the fact that Ms Ferrah’s sacking before the expiration of the standard three-month review represented less favourable treatment on the grounds of religious discrimination.

Ms Ferrah advised the WRC that she was fired from her job on discriminatory grounds as a knee-jerk reaction to her being a Muslim. She went on to say that her employer “may have been overly concerned about public sentiment following the Manchester terror attack and the impact it might have on their business”.

Specsavers strongly denied the discrimination claim and alleged at the hearing, that the decision to fire Ms Ferrah’s from her job on the spot was solely due to her professional performance in the job.

Adjudication Officers of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) are statutorily independent in their decision-making responsibilities as they relate to adjudicating on complaints sent to them by the WRC Director General.

Ms O’Shea said that, in finding that Letterkenny Specsavers did discriminate against Ms Ferrah, it was accepted by the company that reviews of new staff members would be carried out after an initial period of three months employment.

On this occasion, however, there was no official accounts of any professional reviews taking place to back up the company’s contention of ongoing reviews being held. Neither were there any documented accounts of any performance deficits recorded during the period that Ms Ferrah was working at Specsavers Letterkenny shown to the WRC.


Woman from Belfast ‘Abused’ due to her Accent Awarded €1,118 Compensation

Posted on: September 11th, 2018

A workplace industrial tribunal in Northern Ireland has awarded compensation to a woman after she was made fun of due to her west Belfast accent along with being harassed for being female.

The workplace bullying incident happened at the Four Winds pub in Castlereagh where Caroline Curran was working as an assistant manager. She advised the tribunal that she was teased and verbally abused due to her history and gender. She alleged that one manager told her she was “not in the Devenish now”, referring to a pub in west Belfast. She also informed them that another time a male co-worker shouted at her: “Would you women f*** up!… you’re never done moaning.”

Ms Curran advised the industrial tribunal: “I’m a strong person, but I found it extremely difficult to deal with mentally and I can only imagine if it was a younger woman or someone maybe not as strong as myself, what sort of state they would be in? I just didn’t want to let that go or allow them to treat anybody else like that.”

Ms Curran was employed as assistant manager of the bar in March 2017, under the supervision of manager Dermott McGinn and assistant manager Conor Magee. By July 2017 she handed in a formal grievance after becoming displeased at the treatment she was receiving and told that tribunal that Mr Magee “constantly undermines me in front of staff”.

Ms Curran also registered an official complaint in relation to amendments to staff rotas, which she said he lied about making her to feel “as if I’m going insane, sometimes he lies to me to make me think I’m wrong”. After this incident she was signed out of work for two weeks and never went back to work at the pub again. However, she was in attendance for a grievance meeting in August during which she stated that Mr Magee made pointed jokes towards her including: “You’re not in the Devenish now.”

Mr Magee refuted all of Ms Curran’s claims, stating that “he hadn’t exactly a posh voice himself”, before going on to say that he thought he had the same accent and he is also from west Belfast originally. As the grievance meeting did not concur with her complaints Ms Curran took the issue to the workplace industrial tribunal.

At the tribunal legal representatives for Four Winds said the company refuted Ms Curran’s allegations that her gender was an “overarching theme” in her complaints against co-workers and that she did not pursue sex discrimination in her officially filed grievance.

When delivering their final ruling the tribunal said that Ms Curran was, more than likely, teased due to her accent but this was not due to her sex. Along with this they added that her claims of being undermined by Mr Magee were not because of her gender.

On the allegations against Mr McGinn they found that this was due to “bad staff management”, however her sex was not the cause of this. It did rule that the comment, “Would you women just f*** up” as a clear example of sexual harassment. The workplace industrial tribunal awarded Ms Curran £1,080 (€1,118) workplace harassment compensation.

Thumb Dislocation Compensation of €15,000 award to Wexford-based Garda

Posted on: April 16th, 2018

Wexford-based garda Awarded €15,000 in Thumb Dislocation Compensation following sustaining injuries while attending to a house call in relation to a party in Wexford town.

Garda Barry Hennessy told the court that, as a keen golfer, he now has to use pain killers in cold weather has been awarded €15,000 personal injury compensation in the High Court for the injury he sustained.

During a Garda Compensation hearing Garda Hennessy told Mr Justice Michael Twomey that the injury does affect his life aside from sometime suffering pain and stiffness.

Now aged 36, Hennessey told his barrister David Richardson he was called to a house in Clonard Village, Wexford, that in June 2009 as loud music from there was disturbing locals.

Upon reaching the house he had found the door open so he entered and found a man lying on a couch. A second individual came in he started to roar and shout.

Garda Hennessy told the Court that he had been jostled and struck in the face. Subsequently, when he tried to make an arrest, his left thumb was pushed back and dislocated.

At that point Garda Hennessy withdrew as he had seen that there were golf clubs and a fishing rod in the apartment. A colleague brought him to Wexford Hospital when he returned to the garda station. Here his thumb was manipulated under local anaesthetic. His thumb remained in a cast for several week and Garda Hennessy was absent from work for a few weeks.

Garda Hennessy told the Court: “There is nothing I cannot now do with my thumb but when it involves lifting something or gripping something it can still be painful. I have had to take pain killers before playing golf”.

He added that he had been advised that he should have surgery to help the injury. However, he chose not to do so.

Judge Twomey awarded Garda Hennessy €15,000 and revealed in the announcement that he (Garda Hennessy) had not undergone physiotherapy or opted for the other treatments that were available to him.


Former RTÉ Employee Awarded €50,000 after WRC Ruling on Age Discrimination

Posted on: March 23rd, 2018

The former RTÉ presenter Valerie Cox was awarded €50,000 yesterday by the Workplace Relations Commission after they found the broadcaster had discriminated against her on age grounds.

The WRC was told Ms Cox, who was employed by RTÉ for 21 years before her retirement in 2016, had two separate contracts of employment with two separate sets of terms and conditions.

Speaking on Sean O’Rourke this morning, Ms Cox said: “I loved working with you, it was a lovely, lovely job. I would have loved to have stayed on, I don’t know how long for but I would have loved it.

“I’m working as a freelance journalist and still loving it. It’s one of the best jobs in the world,” she said.

Ms Cox was on two contracts with RTE. The first contract, dating from August 2004, was a full-time contract of direct employment, which involved work as a radio reporter on programmes including Today with Sean O’Rourke. It was from this position that she retired when her contract terminated on March 8th, 2016 when she turned 65.

The second contract was a freelance contract for the ‘What It Says In The Papers’ slot on RTE Radio’s flagship programme ‘Morning Ireland’, as well as early morning slots on the weekends.

Ms Cox claims that when she contacted RTE to resume her freelance contract work after her a short break, she was advised told by RTE that she could not come return due to her age.

RTE said it did not comment on specific cases, regardless if they were planning to appeal the ruling or not.

The WRC ruling has been described as a “landmark decision” by politicians. Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin commented that Ms Cox’s case will the first of many on the basis of ageism as people seek to work later in life and he urged Government to prioritise legislation which will abolish the compulsory retirement age of 65 from many sectors of the public service.

Reacting to the ruling Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Conveney reacted to the ruling by announcing that he plans to remove the compulsory retirement age are being advanced and will come into effect “as soon as possible”. In the meantime interim arrangements have been put in.

Circus Performer (53) has Workplace Injury Compensation Action Struck Out

Posted on: February 24th, 2018

A circus performer has had her work injury compensation case struck out.  Amanda Bratby sustained an injury to her back when steel tubing came loose and struck her prior to a big top grand finale.

She told the court that, after her trapeze act, she was waiting for the grand finale to begin with the other circus performers at the rear of the main circus stage when the accident occurred.

Ms Bratby said that she was picking up her work shows for the grand finale when she was struck by the steel tubing, which is usually used to make the tight wire secure, after it became loose.

Ms Bratby (aged 53) took the work accident compensation action against Fossett Brothers Circus Ltd for the suffering she sustained in the accident on October 11, 2012. Fossetts accepted liability for the action and the legal case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Ms Bratby’s legal representatives stated that their client was hade her work life severely impacted due to stiffness and pain and could not achieve an earning capacity similar to her pre-accident level. She was unable to continue being employed as a trapeze artist with the same self-assured nature following the accident.

Prior to the accident occurring Ms Bratby has, the court was told, ambitions to   become a circus ring master.

During a work tour in the Netherlands not long after the accident occurred and she participated in nine performances. However, could only carry out basic tricks on the trapeze and without using the swing.

Legal representatives for Fossetts made the argument that she (Ms Bratby) earned two and a half times more after the accident than prior to it. When cross examined Ms Bratby said that she could not stand over her claims that she had experienced a loss of income in the aftermath of being injured.

Presiding judge Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon gave the parties five minutes recess for parties to consider next steps and following this time period, Ms Bratby’s legal representatives told her that the work accident compensation action be struck out.

Wexford-based Garda Awarded €25,000 in Work Assault Compensation

Posted on: February 8th, 2018

A garda sergeant, who suffered a head-butt injury in the course of his work resulting in serious snoring issues has been awarded €25,000 Work Assault Compensation.

Sergeant Noel McSweeney suffered the workplace injury while on a missing person search in May 2012.

Mr Justice Michael Twomey was told by Barrister Ellen Gleeson that Sergeant McSweeney, had been taking part in a missing person search in May 2012 when the incident happened.

The court was told that the missing woman had been found in a car where she was very intoxicated, drugs were found on the scene, and behaving aggressively.

Sergeant McSweeney told the Court that the woman struggled when they tried to take her into custody. He said: “She jumped back and threw her head backwards, hitting me in the nose and upper teeth”. In addition, he said that he suffered cuts to four of his upper front teeth and his nose had also been injured. He now had an airflow restriction in his nose as he suffered a deviated septum.

The woman was taken into custody.

Sgt McSweeney told the court that, after the head butt attack, his snoring affected his wife’s sleep to the extent that he had to sleep in the spare room on a number of occasions.

He added: “The appearance of my nose wasn’t upsetting to me so I decided not to have surgery correcting it.  Perhaps if I was a model it would be different”.

He also said that he had decided against corrective surgery as he had only experienced physical slight discomfort.

When it came to calculating the sum of compensation to be awarded to Sgt McSweeney, Judge Twomey referred to the Book of Quantum and approved work attack compensation award of  €7,500 with regard to the minor dental injuries and another €18,000 in Garda workplace nose injury damages.

State Claims Agency (SCA) Handling Employee Sexual Harassment Claims

Posted on: November 9th, 2017

According a recent report by State broadcaster RTE, five members of staff employed in the State healthcare system took sexual harassment legal actions over the last number of years, claiming they were assaulted by service users.

The State Claims Agency has not released specific details about where the alleged abuse took place in any individual cases. They did reveal that the claims are in connection with incidents that happened between 2012 and 2016 and make up almost 50% all sexual harassment claims currently being handled by the State Claims Agency for the State.

The State Claims Agency had initially declined to release any information on such claims, despite calls from Fianna Fail and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency for them to make a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against individual public sector bodies available for perusal. These pleas came following the initial refusal by the State Claims Agency to release such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment claims which it handles on the State’s behalf.

Additionally, in November 2017 The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee made contact with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan requesting him to support a call for the data to be released. Following this the State Claims Agency made a limited amount of information on the number of such claims available. The SCA did not say where the incidents that claims arose from happened.

In an official statement released the State Claims Agency confirmed that it has managed 11 claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it said were “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also confirmed that in six of the 11 cases they’ve handled the alleged assailant and assailed person are both staff members. In the remaining five incidents they said the individual believed responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare area and the assailed person was a member of staff.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) said that “The claims that the SCA handle, of this nature, are claims which are wholly or mainly ones seeking compensation for injury (mental or physical). We also need further information on the manner in which the SCA deals with such claims, how many of the cases end up in court, full details of all the costs incurred and whether the State seeks to recoup any of these costs from the alleged assailant.”

Man Awarded Compensation for Unfair Dismissal

Posted on: September 18th, 2017

The Workplace Relations Commission has awarded a former employee of the Boyne Valley Group €15,000 compensation for unfair dismissal.

The man from Drogheda in County Louth was employed as a supervisor in the Boyne Valley Group´s distribution centre when, in May 2015, he was dismissed for alleged gross misconduct. His dismissal, it was claimed, was due to personal remarks he had made to a female colleague about her appearance, her future family plans and her financial affairs.

It was also claimed the supervisor had slapped the woman´s hand when she had asked to see a mobile phone he was holding at the time, and had made comments to her implying some of the workforce had been employed on the basis of sexual favours rather than merit. The woman´s complaint was supported by several colleagues, including her mother and boyfriend.

The company accused the former supervisor of singling out the woman for unwanted attention, and had done so publicly to humiliate her. Although the company´s investigations led to no concrete evidence of a physical assault on the woman, the former supervisor was dismissed on the grounds of breaching the company´s policies on bullying and harassment.

The man appealed the decision and made a claim for compensation for unfair dismissal. His case was heard recently by the Workplace Relations Commission and, under cross-examination, the man admitted making comments that could be considered insulting and that he had tried to offer an apology but the woman had refused it.

After hearing details about how the case against the man, the Chair of the Commission commented the processes the company had adopted during its investigation into the allegations and conducting the disciplinary procedures and been fair. The Chair also accepted it was not the Commission´s role to impose its own decision when the decision to dismiss was “within the band of reasonableness”.

However, the Chair disagreed that the man´s dismissal was within the band of reasonableness, and said it was a disproportionate response to the situation. The Commission awarded the former supervisor €15,000 compensation for unfair dismissal, adding that, although the comments were unwelcome to the employee in question, the matter should have been dealt with in a more constructive manner.

How to Claim for Workplace Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Posted on: July 12th, 2017

The best way to claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss in Ireland is with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor. This article explains why.

If you have suffered damage to your hearing due to your working conditions, the usual process to claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss is to apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim. Provided your employer consents to the Injuries Board processing your application, and his or her insurance company agrees with the Injuries Board´s assessment, your claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss will be resolved within six or seven months.

However, will the settlement be wholly appropriate for the injury you have suffered? Only if the full consequences of your injury are communicated to the Injuries Board, who can only assess the value of personal injury claims on the merits of the information it is provided with. If you do not list the full consequences of your injury, the value of your claim will likely be calculated on the information provided in your doctor´s report.

Your doctor´s report will explain what degree of hearing loss you have suffered, but will not communicate how the hearing loss has impacted your quality of life. If, for example, you are no longer able to enjoy watching a film because you cannot follow the soundtrack – or enjoying a drink in the pub because you are unable to follow the conversation – this are factors that should be included when you claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss.

There may be many more factors that should be included in a claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss – some that maybe you have not even noticed yet. If you speak with a solicitor – or have somebody speak with a solicitor on your behalf – the solicitor will likely recommend you maintain a diary to record the times when you quality of life is impacted by your injury. He or she will then include all these factors in your application for assessment to the Injuries Board.

With a full understanding of the consequences of your injury, the Injuries Board will assess your claim for workplace noise induced hearing loss to account for the deterioration in your quality of life as well as the extent of your injury. This could amount to a substantial portion of your compensation settlement and is an important reason why you should only make an application for assessment to the Injuries Board with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor.

This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.