30th April 2021, 19:17
Unite the union says it will leave no stone unturned in appealing the judgement by the Supreme Court that the former GHA medical director's behaviour during an incident in 2017 does not constitute bullying.
Unite’s regional officer Sam Hennessy told GBC’s Viewpoint the incident in question still hasn’t been addressed by the GHA and “that it is totally unacceptable”. Mr Hennessy said Dr Daniel Cassaglia should have been interdicted by the GHA immediately and investigated, as is the norm. Mr Hennessy told Jonathan Scott the incident has had an impact on the organisation, bringing a lack of faith and trust in the GHA’s duty of care towards their employees.
The disappointing elements of the judgement, according to Unite, is the fact that the Supreme Court found that this type of behaviour, to meet the threshold of the Act and be considered bullying in law had to be persistent, notwithstanding the seriousness of the behaviour displayed and also the fact that the behaviour of the individual involved could not be attributable to the GHA.
Unite's National Officer, Stuart Davies believes the judgement creates an environment for bullying employers to thrive. He says the findings that intimidating and/or abusive conduct has to be persistent to be considered bullying under the law is a green light to be abusive and intimidating, as long as the bully only does this once. The additional finding that the employer cannot have that behaviour attributed to them given that it was “a single, isolated and unforeseeable incident” means that employers can dodge their liability for the actions of their employees. The Union, he says, does not believe that this was the original intention of the legislation.
He adds that four and a half years after the original incident, the GHA must now expedite the internal process , without further delay.
Unite states the impacts of this judgement go beyond just this case and to the wider employment arena in Gibraltar. It says it has sought leave to appeal the judgement to seek to fundamentally improve the protections from bullying for all who work on the Rock.