Grievance Failed as Employee Didn’t Advise of Stress Early

While the obligation for Employers to ensure their employees’ health and safety at work is well established, the Employment Relations Authority recently reinforced that employees also had responsibilities towards ensuring their own safety in the workplace. 

In this case Mr O’Flaherty worked as a car groomer for Andrew Simms Newmarket. He was promoted to a position which involved training and supervising other employees. In 2016 the company hired a man with asperges. Mr O’Flaherty was consulted prior to the hiring and was given advise about asperges and what was needed to train him. 

Unfortunately, the new hire, did not work out well. Mr O’Flaherty found it to be mentally exhausting to train and supervise the new hire, to the point he became unwell. Mr O’Flaherty advised his employer about the performance issues with the new hire, but not about the impact it was having on his own health, and he did not advise his employer about a previous time when he had experienced a mental burnout at his work. 

After taking some time off work, Mr O’Flaherty finally advised his employer of the risk to his health and safety caused by having to manage the new hire. The employer took immediate steps and removed the new hire who was on a 90-day-trial period. But Mr O’Flaherty went off on long term sick leave and eventually resigned in early 2017 and filed a personal grievance against his employer.  

In this case the Authority stated that the onus was on Mr O’Flaherty to advise his employer at the earliest opportunity about what was causing him stress in the workplace. The employer couldn’t take action until they were aware, and in this case as soon as Mr O’Flaherty did advise them, the employer immediately dealt with the situation.