Injured Tesco Security Guard Awarded €32,000 for Workplace ‘Victimisation’

A Tesco Security Guard has had a €32,000 workplace bullying compensation pay out ordered due to be paid to him by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) overturned at the Labour Court.

The man was working with Noonan Services Group Limited at the Tesco store in Co Limerick, a retail unit 40,000 square feet big.

The initial payout was in relation to a complaint over a dispute the man entered into at the store as he recovered from knee surgery sustained in a workplace accident that occurred at a different place of work.

His work involved a period, during his shift at the Tesco store, sit in a chair at a bank of security cameras in order to oversee the activity in the store.

As part of store policy this chair was taken away in order to tackle ‘shrinkage’. This refers to the stealing of articles from the shop floor. The though was that this would force security staff to walk the aisles instead of sitting at the camera-station.

He complained about this and asked for the chair to be brought back, he says his request was refused. He also presented medical testimony that said standing for the duration of his ten-hour shift he would severely affect his recovery from the surgery on his knee.

In November 2015, he ceased working at the Tesco outlet and did not return to work there.

The WRC had initially awarded him €32,000, €16,000 for loss of wages due to going on extended leave, and another €16,000 due to his alleged victimisation.

Tesco had objected during the hearing on the basis that Noonan’s were employing the man and not Tesco. The initial decision by the WRC adjudication officer stated that it was correct to name Tesco as the respondent as the store exerted considerable command and control over the man, regarding annual leave applications and the delivery of security reports for example.

The retailer claimed argued that Noonan is not an employment agency per se, as had been argued earlier, but is ‘a provider of managed services’. It claimed, successfully, that neither the Temporary Agency Work Act 2012, nor the Employment Agency Act 1971, applied to such providers of managed services.

In line with this the court overturned the original decision to award the man €32,000 in personal injury compensation.