Traffic warden transferred after ‘hue and cry’ by local politicians
WRC adjudication officer upheld a second-level written warning issued by the employer
Senior council official claimed the traffic warden had been “hiding behind walls” and was “selective” about where he enforced the parking regulations.
A county council traffic warden was transferred to a different location after local politicians created a “hue and cry” over complaints made by members of the public about his behaviour.
The warden – in his role since 1985 – had allegedly been “rude to members of the public” and a senior council official claimed the traffic warden had been “hiding behind walls” and was “selective” about where he enforced the parking regulations.
The traffic warden denied the allegations. He claimed the investigation against him was not thorough and was biased, and he sought to have a written warning against him withdrawn.
He was contracted to work for the council by a private firm and, in a letter to the firm, the council said continued complaints regarding the conduct and behaviour of the warden were, in the view of the parking section “damaging to the council’s brand and indeed its reputation”.
The letter also said the parking enforcement contract had caught the attention of county councillors “mainly due to the number of complaints” they were receiving” and the concerns regarding the alleged conduct of a particular traffic warden were aired.
Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudication officer, Pat Brady dismissed the reference to the council’s brand and reputation as “little more than self-serving waffle”. He said the traffic warden’s role “is a thankless one”.
However, he upheld a second-level written warning issued against the traffic warden by his unnamed employer though he ordered that it expire on December 1st last rather than March 6th, 2019.
Mr Brady also said “the proposed transfer gives the complainant an opportunity to learn from this experience and for a fresh start which he should embrace”.
The employer had told the WRC the process was fair and the complainant’s rights were fully respected at all stages and the disciplinary sanction should stand.
The employer also argued that the decision to transfer the complainant was not part of the disciplinary sanction and was not reviewable.
But Mr Brady stated that while the transfer decision may be part of a general right on the part of the employer in the allocation of its resources, it was quite clearly linked to the complaints against the complainant, and the outcome.
During the course of his findings, Mr Brady also said the inadequacies in the employer’s handling of the disciplinary process did not provide a basis for setting the written warning aside, “although I recommend shortening the life of the warning”.
On the transfer, Mr Brady stated that the employer “should construct whatever support mechanisms may be required to address concerns by the complainant in respect of possible issues arising on his return to work, as well as implementing whatever training it considers appropriate”.