Ms. Bridget Sweeney who was a member of the teaching staff of Ballinteer Community School has been awarded €75,000 general damages by Mr. Justice Herbert in a judgement delivered on the 24th March 2011.
Ms. Sweeney made a formal complaint of bullying and harassment to the Board of Management of the school against her former principal. A report by an investigating officer appointed by the school found that Ms. Sweeney had not established that she had been bullied and harassed by the principal. Ms. Sweeney, however, claimed that she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and that the cause of this was continuous bullying and harassment. She was diagnosed as suffering from a severe depressive illness in November 2008.
The Court found that she had discharged the onus of establishing that she did suffer from a psychiatric illness in the form of clinical depression and that a direct connection existed between that injury and the continuous bullying and harassment of her by the principal from the 28th March 2007 onwards. The Court also held that the Board of Management of the school took no reasonable or proper steps as the Plaintiff’s employer to address the situation vis-à-vis that principal and herself.