Ireland - Workplace Investigations and Fair Procedures

The right to cross-examination as part of fair procedures during an internal dignity at work investigation was upheld in the controversial case of Lyons v Longford Westmeath Educations and Training Board [2017] IEHC 272.

This case considered the procedures applied in an investigation into an allegation of bullying. This investigation was carried out by an external investigating body, which made findings in relation to certain allegations. The High Court decided that an employee subject to a preliminary investigation has the right to cross-examine his/her accuser and any witnesses at the investigation where the matter is sufficiently serious that it may warrant dismissal. This decision was made in circumstances where findings were being made against the employee at the investigation stage. Had the investigation been categorised as an information gathering process rather than one that made findings of fact, the right of cross-examination would not have arisen. If the investigation is a preliminary step and the investigator does not have the power to make findings or impose sanctions, but is simply gathering information to determine if there is a basis for a disciplinary hearing, then the employer is not required to comply with request for full fair procedures, including a right to cross-examine.

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