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Employee found guilty of assault and harassment awarded €15,000 by EAT

The recent decision of the Employment Appeals Tribunal to award an employee found guilty of assaulting and harassing a fellow employee €15,000 would indicate that Employers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

In the present case it was accepted by the Tribunal that the processes adopted by the employer during the investigation and disciplinary process had been fair, however, held that the decision to dismiss did not come within the band of reasonableness.
In cases of bullying and harassment, employers have a duty to protect employees from such behaviours and failing that duty they run the risk of an employee resigning and taking any number of claims concurrently against their employer from constructive dismissal to personal injuries, penalisation and/or breach of contract for failing to provide a safe place of work.
This double-edged sword leaves employers vulnerable to claims for taking action as well as inaction. This decision has placed employers in an untenable position.


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