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Workplace Relations Commission

Man who had sex with his manager loses claim over his contract not being renewed

After the intimate encounter, the man claimed to be ‘wracked with guilt’ as he had a girlfriend at the time.

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A MAN WHO claimed to be wracked with guilt after having sex with his manager while he had a girlfriend has lost his claim for unfair dismissal at the Workplace Relations Commission.

The man commenced employment with the recruitment agency in question in early 2016. He later said he thought his employment was a permanent position. The company meanwhile said he was on a fixed-term contract, due to expire at the end of January 2017.

Some time after his contract began he attended a house party at his new manager’s home, where he later had sex with her.

He claimed that he subsequently developed mental health issues due to being “wracked with guilt” as he had a girlfriend at the time. He said that after the intimate encounter, relations between himself and his manager became ‘very awkward’ and that her subsequent behaviour was ‘inappropriate’.

From October of 2016 onwards, the man requested of his manager that he be transferred. He claimed that she encouraged him not to pursue such a transfer.

On 17 December 2016, the man spoke to both his new assistant manager and the regional manager about the intimate encounter and about how his mental health was affected, and said that he wished to be transferred. He also informed his union.

The man claimed that in speaking to the two managers he had in effect made protected disclosures to them, disclosures that were mismanaged by the company.

Protected disclosure

He said that he had not been offered a new contract due to his making those protected disclosures, which amounted to unfair dismissal.

On 20 January 2017, in the middle of a period of absence from work on the part of the man, the company informed him by letter that his contract would not be renewed on 31 January.

For its part, the agency said that it had not been made officially aware of the intimate encounter that took place between the man and his manager before his contract expired.

Considering the case, adjudicating officer Jim Dolan said that the essence of the matter was whether or not the man’s ‘protected disclosures’ could be defined as such via the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.

Under that act, a protected disclosure is one “where a worker has information about a relevant wrongdoing”.

He concluded that the man had not in fact made such a protected disclosure.

The man’s complaint failed as a consequence.

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