Treating employees unfairly is wrong, unjust and costly

Screen shot 2017-02-02 at 15.47.09

Screen shot 2017-02-02 at 15.48.50
Newly appointed Chamber President Gerard McCormick pictured with Toni Forester, Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce; Michael Boyd and Philip Gillespie of Boyd HR Work Place Investigation.

Screen shot 2017-02-02 at 15.49.55

Aoibhin Boyd, Lucinda Gibson-Carson and Emer McLaughlin from Boyd Associates pictured at the launch of the new programme at the Radison Hotel.


BOYD HR, in conjunction with Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce, held their launch of Independent Workplace Investigations on Wednesday, 1st February in the Radisson Blu Letterkenny. During the launch, Boyd HR covered many areas relevant to employers such as Theft in the Workplace, Bullying and Harassment, CCTV and its pitfalls, and grievances raised by Employees. Their main focus of the evening was Independent Workplace Investigations, the purpose of which is to determine the truth of what happened in any particular circumstance.

Two years ago, Michael was approached by an employer who suspected that one of his employees was stealing from him. Given the nature of the incident he engaged the services of Philip Gillespie, a retired Garda with over 30 years investigations experience. Since then they have dealt with several cases of theft, bullying and harassment in the workplace. As a result of his work in this area Michael has identified a need for the development of this aspect of his business.

A good starting point for Employers is that they have a Policy & Procedure in place that determines how they will
conduct an investigation and that they follow their own procedure. This policy must be fair and compliant with the legislation.
“Our motto in Boyd HR is prevention is better than the cure.”

Too often, Michael deals with the ramifications of poor procedures and flawed investigations carried out in businesses.
“The need for independence and fairness is crucial, the Workplace Relations Commission looks at employers as the responsible party and therefore the onus is on the employer to provide a safe place of work and that correct and fair procedures are in place for their staff,” Michael said.

“For instance, employers who carry out an investigation cannot therefore be independent in carrying out the Disciplinary Hearing that may follow, as to do so would flaw the process.”

“The primary benefit of this service to employers is that they have sound evidential basis for moving forward in taking whatever action is appropriate in the circumstances. Secondary benefits include allowing the employer to diffuse a situation at an early stage in the process. It also can uncover certain systemic problems that may exist in the business and take the necessary corrective action.”

In 2013 an employer had to pay €18,500 for simply not turning up at the Employment Appeals Tribunal, his absence was seen as guilt. This occurred again in 2014 when another Donegal business owner did not attend the hearing against them and the employee was awarded €39,750 for uncontested evidence. In 2015 an employee was not given notice of the reason for the meeting which resulted in their dismissal. The EAT found no fair procedure was in place and the process lacked any natural justice. The employee was awarded €17,714.

Mr    Philip    Gillespie, Principal Investigator for this service in Boyd HR, has stated that the above awards made by the EAT (now WRC) only further highlight the need for companies to have good procedures in place, that they follow these procedures and equally ensure that an independent investigation is carried out.

Screen shot 2017-02-02 at 16.04.32


Retired garda will head up a new service – Independent Workplace Investigations - which will be formally launched...


Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland