An employee who worked as a Fire Risk Management Officer has had her personal grievance for disadvantage upheld by the Employment Relations Authority.

The employee was disadvantaged in her employment after she received an oral warning following an investigation into allegations that she had bullied a colleague.

The ERA held that the employer did not conduct a full and fair investigation into the matter as he had failed to address whether the employee’s behaviour was repetitive, and whether it had had a detrimental effect on the colleague’s wellbeing. Consequently, the ERA ordered that the warning and all references to it be removed from the employees file.

The ERA found that because the warning was unsubstantiated it had disadvantaged the employee in her employment by causing her application for a job transfer to be overlooked. It had also placed her one step closer to dismissal, and was inconsistent with other warnings issued in the past.

The ERA rejected the employee’s claim that her employer had breached the terms of her employment by failing to provide her with a safe workplace. The ERA held that this claim could not be addressed because it was not raised within the 90 day timeframe.

The ERA awarded $7,000 compensation but deducted 25 per cent for the employee’s own contribution for failing to openly engage in the disciplinary process.