SIPTU’s Workers Rights Centre has secured compensation of €7,000 at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) for a union member employed by Bausch Health in Waterford who was found to have been discriminated against by her employer due to a disability. 

SIPTU’s Workers Rights Centre Advocate, Rachel Hartery, said: “Due to a period of planned leave, our member, Tanya Phelan, was unjustly disqualified from applying for an internal position as her annual absence level at the time exceeded 3.5%. During the WRC proceedings, we argued that this company rule, not collectively agreed with employees and not included in official policies, constituted indirect discrimination.” 

She added: “The WRC adjudication officer acknowledged the adverse impact of the 3.5% rule on absent workers and ordered Bausch Health to compensate Tanya with €7,000 for the effects of discrimination. Additionally, the company was directed to revise its internal recruitment policy concerning the 3.5% rule to mitigate indirect discrimination risks.”

Tanya Phelan said: “I feel very let down by the treatment I received from my employer, at a time when I should have been focusing on my recovery. I am delighted with the outcome and the representation that was provided to me by my union.”

Expressing satisfaction with the outcome, SIPTU Organiser, Allen Dillion, reiterated the Union’s longstanding opposition to such a controversial rule. 

He said: “The entire practice is unfair and unjust. In the case of Tanya, she had an impeccable 25-year time and attendance record. The successful resolution of this case underscores the need to address and rectify discriminatory practices in all workplaces.”