The Rights Commissioner Service and Taking a Claim or Dealing with a Claim
Any past or present employee can present a complaint to a Rights Commissioner www.lrc.ie against an Employer.
Where the complaint is about a statutory entitlement both Parties should at least try and resolve the matter directly before utilising the Rights Commissioner Avenue.
However, if the issue is unresolvable in particular where the person making the complaint is no longer an employee it may be difficult to otherwise resolve and as such the only way to solve the issue may be through the Rights Commissioner Service.
A complaint is made to the Rights Commissioner Service by application form, it will be then allocated to one of their expert commissioners.
Hearings are relatively informal and are held in private, except for hearings under the Payment of Wages Act, which are held in public, unless the Rights Commissioner decides otherwise.
In reality, however, members of the public rarely attend such hearings.
As the Rights Commissioner Service is in receipt of a large quantity of applications at this time, the waiting time for a Rights Commissioner hearing has increased considerably. Waiting times are currently approximately six months.
In Dublin, hearings take place in the Labour Relations Commission building on Haddington Road in Dublin 4 but hearings are held in other parts of the country as well. Normally outside of Dublin they take place in a hotel meeting room.
Depending on the matter in dispute and the preference of the individual Rights Commissioner both sides may be asked to provide them with a concise outline of their case prior to the hearing.
This will mostly be done through postal correspondence with the Rights Commissioner Service.
If you have nominated a representative to act on your behalf then all this correspondence will be carried out by your representative.
At the hearing, the Commissioner will ask each party to present their case and may ask questions.
Your representative can present your case for you. The parties will also be allowed to comment on the other party’s submission and to ask questions regarding it.
Each side may bring witnesses to the hearing.
The Rights Commissioner may also speak to each party separately and explore the possibility of reaching a settlement or compromise of the dispute. Your representative will be able to be a part of this discussion also.
Depending on the employment law legislation the Rights Commissioner will issue a recommendation or a decision based on all the information which they have gathered at the hearing.
All recommendations and decisions are binding on the parties (but subject to appeal by either side) unless they have been made under the Industrial Relations Acts 1969-2001. If an agreed settlement is unlikely, the Rights Commissioner will then issue a recommendation on the dispute.
This will be posted out to the parties or their representatives within a few weeks of the hearing. At this stage, either party may appeal this recommendation to the Employment Appeals Tribunal or even the Labour Court.
Rights Commissioner or Employment Appeals Tribunal?
Under the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 to 2005, either the employee or the employer can object to the Rights Commissioners hearing a case or in the event that they are dissatisfied with a determination or decision or recommendation this can be appealled to the higher Tribunal.
Fundamentally, the Rights Commissioner Service aims to offer both parties (employer and employee) a speedy and informal method of dealing with any dispute or issues which may arise before, during or after employment.
What happens at the Right’s Commissioner’s hearing?
The hearings are formal but are held in an informal setting.
Each side is given the opportunity to fully present their case, so this is why it is so important to be well prepared and bring all the documents which you may need to produce on the day.
If you have a representative they will have all the relevant information at hand to produce on the day of the hearing Written submissions are not needed but they are helpful and may even support your claim further and they may also help the Rights Commissioner to focus on the relevant points and also to help speed up the hearing.
It also helps the Rights Commissioners to have a record of the statements made at the hearing when considering their recommendation or decision subsequent the hearing.
In some cases, it is possible to settle disputes between the parties on the day of a hearing, with the assistance of the Rights Commissioner.
It is entirely a matter for the Rights Commissioner to decide how to conduct a hearing and no two hearings will be the same.
Should I be represented at the hearing?
It is up to you to decide if you wish to be represented at a Rights Commissioner’s hearing.
It is not a requirement of the Rights Commissioner Service that you have representation. In fact one of the original goals of the RC service was that non-representation would allow access to the service for more people.
However, it is better to be represented at the Rights Commissioner to ensure that you get the outcome that you want. This will ensure that you are fully prepared on the day and will also ensure that your case is presented in the best possible way. It will also guarantee that you are fully educated on all employment laws which will help you both at the hearing and in the future also.
We have extensive first-hand experience with preparing and conducting these types of hearings so call us on1890 88 90 90 to get advice on the Rights Commissioners Service and how we can help you.
Free a free no obligation consultation click here or complete the form above.