Here the employee was employed an IT Officer and commenced employment in 2018. His role was to ensure IT compliance and technical governance within the Credit Union. However in 2019, the employee was placed on a performance improvement plan (“PIP”), following an incident whereby he shared a global administrators password with another employee without permission. Matters were further compounded when during his PIP, the employee once again shared another administrator password without permission. This resulted in the employee’s conduct being investigated.
Midway through the investigation, it was also discovered that the employee had left a “cheat sheet” with step by step guidance on how to access the organizations secured data underneath a laptop in a meeting room in which 3rd party members had access to.
Following the investigation and disciplinary meetings, whilst having regard to the potential severity of the employees actions and the importance of data security within financial institutions, the Credit Union took the decision to dismiss the employee.
At the WRC, the employee submitted that at no stage did realise that he would be dismissed and that if he had been aware of such , he would have made a stronger case. In response, the Credit Union noted the employees right to fair procedures were adhered to throughout with the provision of an independent investigation, notice of the allegations, ample opportunity to make submission in regards to the allegations, numerous documentation concerning the allegations, right to representation and a right of appeal.
In her decision, the adjudicator, Ms. Catherine Byrne, found that the Credit Union’s decision to dismiss was reasonable when having regard to particular circumstances before the parties. The adjudicator noted that the employee had been sufficiently qualified and afforded substantial training and that he seemed unable to comprehend the severity of his actions despite being fully aware of the potential consequences that may have flowed his actions.
In deeming the dismissal to be fair, the adjudicator drew particular focus to the employees failure to exhaust all internal procedures and that he should have utilised his right of appeal internally prior to lodging his complaint before the WRC.