The Employment Relations Authority has held that the names of complainants may be withheld from the employee being investigated in some circumstances.

In this case the witnesses all feared for their safety if their names were disclosed.  The employer investigated, and discounted any collusion between them as to the allegations.

The ERA held that, not only must the use of a secret witness be justified, but that the employer must provide significant other information to enable the employee to be properly informed of the allegations made, and to be able to give a reasonable response to the allegations despite not having the names of the complainants.

The employee’s claim for unjustified dismissal was upheld because the employer failed to give enough details as to the dates, times and places of allegations to enable the employee to fairly respond.