Bank must pay €60k compo to ex-worker ‘driven to resign’

Ulster Bank has been hit with a legal ruling to pay almost €60,000 compensation to a former worker who had been given an excessive workload with few supports.

Bank must pay €60k compo to ex-worker ‘driven to resign’

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) found the bank’s conduct towards commercial officer, Sinead Gough, had driven her to resign from her job at the bank’s Dungarvan branch.

It ruled that Ms Gough of Ballykerogue, Stradbally, Co Waterford, was constructively dismissed by Ulster Bank and awarded her €57,540 compensation.

The tribunal found the bank had made her workload excessive which had resulted in her suffering stress through signing off contracts and loan documents.

The tribunal also criticised the bank for giving Ms Gough a low rating for her performance, while also failing to provide any remedies to grievances she had raised.

The EAT said the bank’s offer to allow her work more than a three-day week or to transfer her to another branch would have impacted on her family status.

It claimed the bank’s acceptance of her resignation was also an indication that it was happy to see her go.

At a hearing earlier this year, Ms Gough said she had to work through her lunch break and sometimes while she was on leave in order to get her work done.

She had to sign contract letters, even though it was best practice that they be signed by a manager. Ms Gough admitted being stressed and worried that she would make a mistake.

She raised a formal grievance about her workload in March 2011 and the fact that issues she had raised previously had not been dealt with adequately.

She also complained that she had been given an unjust rating in the annual review by area manager, Vincent Kearney.

On her doctor’s advice she tendered her resignation later that month. Her grievance about her performance marking was upheld on the day she finished work with Ulster Bank.

Her line manager, John Fitzgerald told the tribunal she was committed and very diligent but that she struggled with her workload.

The tribunal ruled that the duty of trust and confidence between Ms Gough and her employer was irreparably broken by the bank’s actions.

Outdated IT blamed

By Catherine Shanahan

Failure to invest in upgrading outdated IT systems has been blamed for the glitch that left thousands of Ulster Bank customers unable to use payment cards or access online accounts on Cyber Monday.

Ross McEwan, chief executive of the RBS Group, said the glitch that frustrated customers on the busiest day of the year for online retailers was “unacceptable”.

“For decades, RBS failed to invest properly in its systems. We need to put our customers’ needs at the centre of all we do. It will take time, but we are investing heavily in building IT systems our customers can rely on.”

Ulster Bank, which comes under the umbrella of the RBS group, said the issues affecting its customers had been resolved. It apologised to its customers and vowed to reimburse those left out of pocket.

The Central Bank, which has been in contact with Ulster Bank, said customers had a “legitimate expectation of high quality uninterrupted service”. It said it expected all firms to have “adequate systems and controls in place” and to take immediate remedial action when issues affecting customers arose.

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