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HSE pays €28,000 compensation for bullying and harassment

Over the four-year period, there were 154 cases of alleged bullying/harassment that resulted in a formal investigation, reveal figures released to this newspaper under Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation.

Most of the cases (74) were in 2015. In 2014, there were 30 cases; 16 in 2016; and 34 in 2017.

A total of €28,296 in compensation was awarded over this time period.

Regarding the 30 cases reported in 2014, 11 investigations are in progress and nine are awaiting report. There have been four “disciplinary actions”. Only one complaint has been upheld, one has been partly upheld, three have not been upheld, while one staff member has resigned.

In relation to 74 cases in 2015, there has been one dismissal; three cases where a final written warning was issued; and two cases where the disciplinary procedure is still in process. One case was referred to the Director General, another case was resolved through mediation, and one case was still under discussion.

For 2016, in respect of 16 cases, one has resulted in sanction. In another, it was decided there was “no case to answer”. There are currently 14 investigations in progress, “some due to [a] parallel process”.

In 2017, of the 34 reported cases, 29 investigations are still in progress.

In one case there was no formal conclusion, while four disciplinary sanctions have been imposed.

“The HSE is committed to protecting dignity and respect across the organisation and is committed to ensuring that all employees are provided with a safe working environment, which is free from all forms of bullying, sexual harassment and harassment,” according to a statement from the HSE.

“The Dignity at Work Policy aims to promote respect, dignity, safety and equality in the workplace. Every member of staff should be aware that all forms of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment are unacceptable and every member of staff has a duty to behave in an acceptable and respectful manner.

“A key aim of the policy is to provide awareness regarding the steps which individuals may take if they believe that they have been bullied, harassed, or sexually harassed. A support contact person is available to all employees.”

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