Care worker sacked after quizzing teen about ‘one night stand’ and ‘date rape’

19-year-old worker’s ‘dignity at work’ violated due to sexual harassment, employer said

WRC adjudication officer, Jim Dolan dismissed the worker’s claim, finding the man’s  behaviour did amount to sexual harassment.

WRC adjudication officer, Jim Dolan dismissed the worker’s claim, finding the man’s behaviour did amount to sexual harassment.

 

A man was entitled to be sacked from a care organisation after he asked a 19-year-old female colleague had she ever been tempted to have a one-night stand and questioned her about “date rape”, the Workplace Relations Commission has found.

The care worker was dismissed for gross misconduct last May after the voluntary care organisation found the 19-year-old agency worker’s “dignity at work” was violated as a result of sexual harassment which arose from the conversation of a sexual nature.

The organisation — which provides services to people with intellectual disabilities in Dublin — found the conversation “had the effect of creating an intimidating and offensive work environment for the woman”.

The employer is a Section 38 organisation that provides health or personal social services on behalf of the HSE and it employs around 1,000 staff to provide services to approximately 1,000 service users.

The young woman complained about the man on September 2nd, 2018, two months after the man had been served with a final written warning concerning a separate incident involving the emotional abuse of a patient.

In her complaint, the woman said her male colleague raised a number of topics while working alone with residents.

She said he asked if her friends had one-night stands; had she ever been tempted to have a one-night stand; and how long would it take her to do something with a male.

She also stated the man told her about a sex site online for women when their husbands go away and said she should look it up.

He also asked her do men come up to her on nights out and questioned her about “date rape”.

As a result of the allegations, the male worker was requested to remain off duty pending a full investigation into the matter.

The man — employed as a care worker since 2003 — was sacked for gross misconduct in May. The decision to dismiss came after he had previously been served with a final written warning. It was alleged he had told a service user that he was in no mood to listen to him, and to hurry up because he was too slow and it was coming up to his lunch time.

The man sued for unfair dismissal at the WRC. However, WRC adjudication officer, Jim Dolan dismissed the worker’s claim. He found the behaviour of the male care worker did amount to sexual harassment.

It was argued on the worker’s behalf that the complaint regarding sexual harassment did not merit dismissal and that it was a disproportionate sanction.

Mr Dolan ruled that the actions taken by the employer were reasonable.