In the recent High Court decision of Catherine Glynn v The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Ireland and the Attorney General, Mr. Justice Kearns dismissed the Plaintiff’s case on the basis that she had failed to prove that she had suffered a psychiatric injury.
The Plaintiff had been employed as a civil servant performing clerical duties at Gort Garda Station, Galway since 1979. The Plaintiff had a number of difficulties in 1996/7 with her work colleagues Garda Callaghy and Superintendent Mockler. The Plaintiff claimed in her pleadings that after a meeting with Supt. Mockler regarding her difficulties with Garda Callaghy, he rang her house on three occasions in the one day and that she was required to ask her GP to request of him that he desist phoning her. In 2004 the Plaintiff applied and was successful in being promoted to the position of Financial. However, she was advised that she could not take up this position until Garda Callaghy had retried or left. In 2005, she was instructed by Supt. Mockler that she would be commencing these duties while Garda Callaghy was out of the station. The Plaintiff claimed that she was put under considerable stress for that four day period as she couldn’t readily access the monthly accounts or passwords for Garda Callaghy’s PC. Whilst she was completing the accounts, she encountered a cheque drawn for expenses by Supt. Mockler and she enquired of Garda HQ as to what she should do with the cheque. The Plaintiff claimed further that when Supt. Mockler had learned of what she had done that he had become very aggressive. The Plaintiff went on sick leave and returned to work in 2006, when Supt. Mockler had retried and she maintained that she had worked there contently ever since.
During the course of the hearing, it emerged that the Plaintiff had never disclosed her previous history of depression or that she had been placed on medication for this condition. When cross-examined, the Plaintiff admitted that she did not suffer a psychiatric injury as a result of the stress she suffered in the workplace. In arriving at his decision, Mr. Justice Kearns described the Plaintiff as a “perfectionist” and as a person who took offence easily. In contrast, Justice Kearns found Supt. Mockler to be a credible witness and that he had been perfectly entitled to contact the Plaintiff in 1997 so as to enquire as to her return to work. As regards, the four day period of stress in 2005 Justice Kearns held that this time span could only be seen as a once-off incident and not as repetitive conduct which constitutes bullying or harassment. It was on that basis that Justice Kearns dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim as she had failed to prove allegations of bullying and that she had suffered an injury as a result of bullying and stress in the workplace. To read further on the decision:- http://www.courts.ie/Judgments.nsf/597645521f07ac9a80256ef30048ca52/e0f985dfa4c6594780257ca2003930e3?OpenDocument