CASE REF: 84/04FET
CLAIMANT: William James Coulter
RESPONDENT: Down District Council
The decision of the Tribunal is that it does have jurisdiction to hear the claim that the claimant suffered financial loss as a result of alleged incidences of harassment, and is not prevented from making this claim by virtue of a conciliation agreement entered into in respect of the proceedings under case reference number 19/03FET.
The tribunal also finds that the sequence of events of 7 May 2003 as set out in the claimant's application to the Fair Employment Tribunal received on 26 February 2004 through to the failure to pay the claimant when the comparator had been paid are all acts constituting one ongoing act of discrimination and as such are not outside the time limit. The tribunal also considers that it would not be just and equitable to extend time in respect of the acts from 5 February 2003 to April 2003.
Constitution of Tribunal:
Chairman (sitting alone): Ms Crooke
The claimant was represented by Mr C Hamill, Barrister-at-Law, instructed by Wilson Nesbitt, Solicitors.
The respondent was represented by Mr P Coll, Barrister-at-Law, instructed by Legal Department of Belfast City Council.
The Legal Issue before the Tribunal
Sources of Evidence
Analysis of Evidence
Findings of Fact
(ii) These related to a failure to investigate a complaint of the claimant lodged under the respondent's harassment and bullying policy.
(iii) A conciliated settlement in respect of this case was signed by the claimant on 26 June 2003 and on behalf of the respondent on 3 July 2003.
(iv) In or around February 2004, the claimant entered a fresh set of proceedings in the tribunal complaining of events from 5 February 2003 to January 2004.
(v) It was contended on behalf of the respondent that the terms of the conciliated settlement reached in case number 19/03FET were wide enough to oust the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear this subsequent case as clause 4 of that agreement stated "the applicant acknowledges that the terms and conditions set out herein constitute an adequate disposal of his grounds for complaint insofar as same relate to the Council and its failure to implement the relevant procedures under the harassment and bullying policy". The respondent contended that this operated to cover the complaints of the claimant in case 84/04FET and as such the claimant could not bring this claim before the tribunal.
Conclusions of the Tribunal on the Findings of Fact
"Agreement in respect of an application made to the Industrial Tribunal".
Accordingly, the tribunal was unable to find that it operated to block events which happened between the parties after the initial proceedings under reference number 19/03FET had been lodged in the tribunal. The tribunal is supported in reaching that conclusion by the contents of the minutes of a meeting on Friday 19 December 2003. This was a document which emanated from the respondent and minuted a meeting attended by Mr John McGrillen, Clerk and Chief Executive of the respondent, Mr Norman Stewart, Director of Corporate Service of the respondent, Mrs Freda McCormick, Human Resources Manager of the respondent, Mr William Coulter, Dog Warden and Mrs Taryn Trainor, Union Representative. In this set of minutes, the following statements were made:-
"Mr McGrillen reiterated that a settlement figure had been reached in respect of events prior to 6 November 2002 …" and
"Mr Stewart was of the opinion that the settlement figure was for all issues up to 6 November 2002".
Clearly employees of the respondent at the most senior level took the view that the proceedings under reference number 19/03FET related to the complaints of the claimant in and around the events of 6 November 2002.
Date and place of hearing: 27 April 2006, Belfast.
Date decision recorded in register and issued to parties: