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Employee Subjected to Penalisation for Raising Serious Breach of Health and Safety Awarded €20,000

posted 12 months ago

The case of Patrick O’Connor v Wexford County Council ADJ-00040852 involved a complaint under Section 28 of Health and Safety at Work Act (the “Act”) by the Complainant that he was penalised by the Respondent for raising a health and safety complaint of a very serious nature.

The Complainant alleged that in November 2020, he was travelling with a co-worker, Mr Gardiner, when Mr Gardiner assaulted him by choking him with a seatbelt of the van in which they were travelling. The assault was prolonged and when released, the Complainant was forced from the van, causing him to fall to the pavement and vomit. The Complainant did not pursue a complaint at this stage.

The Complainant alleged that in July 2021, Mr Gardiner threatened him verbally. This he said occurred during a dispute over the Complainant’s work when Mr Gardiner told him if he didn’t shut his mouth “he would do it for him” and that he would “meet him … and sort him out”. The Complainant alleged that when he threatened to report him, Mr Gardiner put his hands to his own neck in a choking gesture. Given the previous incident, the Complainant perceived this as a threat.

The Complainant was extremely distressed after this encounter and reported Mr Gardiner to the Respondent in July 2021 and an incident report form was completed.

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