Glass security screens will be removed at the dole office in Sligo despite growing fears among staff of threats and abuse.
The Department of Social Protection has won a battle to install screenless counters in reception areas with the aim of making workers seem more open and approachable.
The screenless desks which will now be installed at the dole office in Sligo are part of the Government's plan to roll out a new National Employment and Entitlements Service.
An independent adjudicator has given Minister Joan Burton the green light to push ahead with the plan.
The office will offer employment services as well as paying benefits, and 14 of them will be in operation before the end of the year.
However, staff are strongly opposed to the move to screenless desks and have argued that it puts their safety at risk.
Workers at four offices, including Sligo, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action if the screens are removed at "high risk" offices.
The Department of Social Protection said the "physical environment" in the new unemployment advisory service has a "critical role to play in framing the relationship between our staff and our clients".
A spokesperson said four offices -- at Sligo, Parnell Street in Dublin, Arklow, and Tallaght -- will have screenless reception desks but screens would not be removed from other desks at this stage.