If you were to get a job where you get paid almost $130,000 (P7.2 million) a year to do nothing, would you complain about it? Most people wouldn't even utter a single grumble, but the case is different for an employee in Ireland.
In a report by Irish Independent carried by VICE, Dermot Alastair Mills, a finance manager for Ireland’s national railway network, has complained that his daily tasks of merely eating lunch and reading newspapers—and getting a salary amounting to $126,000 a year—have resulted in his work duties to be "hacked down to nothing."
The reason for this is that Mills had become a whistleblower back in 2014 when he raised concerns about certain accounting matters at Irish Rail. Afterward, he was gradually relieved of most of his work duties until all he can do now is basically nothing.
"I buy two newspapers, the Times and the Independent, and a sandwich. I go into my cubicle, I turn on my computer, I look at emails. There are no emails associated with work, no messages, no communications, no colleague communications," Mills explained.
He went on, "I sit and I read the newspaper and I eat my sandwich. Then about 10:30 a.m., if there’s an email which requires an answer, I answer it. If there’s work associated with it, I do that work."
Because of this, he filed a complaint under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 to the Workplace Relations Commission, alleging that he was subjected to penalization as a whistleblower because of the reduction of his role, leading him to be "isolated" at his job site.
"I’d say if I got something that requires me to do work once in a week, I’d be thrilled," Mills told the Workplace Relations Commission at a recent hearing.
According to him, he had noticed "certain issues with debtors" back when he was managing a debt portfolio worth €8 million (almost P500 million).
However, when he reported the matter to the Irish Rail chief and to the Transport Minister nine years ago, he claimed that he was "stopped" from handling a number of his usual tasks, such as preparing reports for the government and attending company meetings.
While the Irish Rail does not dispute that Mills made a protected disclosure, they stressed that they did not penalize him.