Dublin dog pound operators ordered to pay €18,000 to warden who reported alleged abuses

ireland
Dublin Dog Pound Operators Ordered To Pay €18,000 To Warden Who Reported Alleged Abuses Dublin Dog Pound Operators Ordered To Pay €18,000 To Warden Who Reported Alleged Abuses
The Workplace Relations Commission has ordered David Stone and Carol Stone trading as Ashton Dog Pound and Warden Service to pay €18,000 to Mr Williamson for penalising him under the Protected Disclosure Act
Share this article

Gordon Deegan

The operators of a Dublin dog pound and warden service have been ordered to pay €18,000 for penalising a dog warden who raised concerns relating to animal welfare and alleged veterinary pharmaceutical offences.

At the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), Adjudicator Valerie Murtagh has found that Conor Williamson "faced retaliation" for his reporting of alleged animal abuse and veterinary practices to his employer and to gardaí.

Ms Murtagh found that Mr Williamson's disclosure amounted to a Protected Disclosure and has ordered David Stone and Carol Stone trading as Ashton Dog Pound and Warden Service to pay €18,000 to Mr Williamson for penalising him under the Protected Disclosure Act.

Concerning the protected disclosure case before the WRC, Mr Williamson made two disclosures in relation to the euthanasia of two dogs at the pound, first to his employer based at River Road, Castleknock by way of email dated July 26th 2020 and to An Garda Siochana some days later when he got no response from his employer on the serious issues raised.

Advertisement

In her findings, Ms Murtagh stated that she was satisfied that Mr Williamson was subjected to "a spurious investigation and disciplinary process" and a suspension of work which was not warranted and which amounts to penalisation under the Protected Disclosures Act.

Mr Williamson faced a complaint of bullying and harassment by a number of colleagues.

However, Ms Murtagh found that upon review of Mr Williamson's colleagues’ statements, she found them to be contrived "and have the hallmarks of an orchestrated campaign by management to intimidate and bully the complainant".

Ms Murtagh stated that it appeared to her that the statements had been rehearsed and that a number of these same staff retracted their statements shortly after making them.

Package

Ms Murtagh also stated that it is noteworthy that the Dog Pound offered Mr Williamson a severance package in February 2021 comprising a non-disclosure agreement in an effort to exit Mr Williamson out of the organisation.

The WRC Adjudicator stated that she found Mr Williamson’s testimony "to be cogent and convincing".

Finding that Mr Williamson was penalised for having made a protected disclosure with regard to animal welfare and veterinary pharmaceutical offences at his employer, Ms Murtagh stated that she was "cognisant of the numerous allegations that the complainant was subjected to by the respondent after making the protected disclosure".

Advertisement

Ms Murtagh also noted that Mr Williamson was employed with the Dog Pound since 2017, however many of the issues giving rise to invoking the disciplinary processes seem to have arisen following Mr Williamson making his protected disclosure in July 2020 to his employer and to the Gardai.

The employer stated that since the time of making the disclosure, Mr Williamson was subject to an investigation and disciplinary process for an incident that occurred prior to the alleged whistle-blowing, which was the subject of adjudication.

The employer stated that the incident was investigated and Mr Williamson was disciplined a second time for which he is claiming penalisation,

The employer asserted that the process including the appeal was at all times entirely fair.

The Dog Pound operator stated that Mr Williamson’s complaint of penalisation is without merit and the actions of the employer were entirely justified.

The employer stated that Mr Williamson is the individual who has repeatedly informed his employer that he is a whistle-blower, however he has done this without being asked and at times in the most unusual of circumstances.

Mr Williamson stated that on June 1st 2021, a director at his employer wrote to him explaining that the company had lost its contract and that his employment would be transferred to Dublin City Council from July 1st.

Mr Williamson stated that on June 27th 2021, the director found him guilty of misconduct and extended his final written warning by 12 months.

Read More

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2022, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com