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HomeBusinessTreehouse designer ordered to pay €25,000 to carpenter in penalisation complaint

Treehouse designer ordered to pay €25,000 to carpenter in penalisation complaint

An award-winning treehouse designer has been ordered to pay a carpenter nearly €22,000 for penalising him for taking a personal injury suit over a fall at work.

The Workplace Relations Commission refused to accept, as Plan Eden Projects owner Peter O’Brien had claimed, that it was a “series of coincidences” that the carpenter was taken off payroll and had sick pay stopped the day after notice of the lawsuit was given.

In a decision today, the tribunal upheld a complaint of penalisation taken by the worker, David Keegan, under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 against Mr O’Brien.

This comes after the complainant said he “was being punished for going to his solicitor” over the workplace accident.

Mr O’Brien, who won an award for best small garden at the Bloom garden show in 2018, had denied the complaints.

Giving evidence last month, Mr Keegan said he suffered a “serious knee and leg injury” in a fall from scaffolding at a site on 17 January 2022 scaffolding, which he claims was “not erected properly”.

The tribunal heard that Mr Keegan received three and a half weeks’ sick pay from Mr O’Brien after his fall.

He also shared medical details with him before a solicitor engaged by the complainant wrote to the employer on 3 February that year accusing him of failing to provide “a safe system of work and sufficient training”.


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