Do you want to achieve an above average settlement or award in an unfair dismissals case without investing a fortune? What if there was a way to know for sure that you were maximising every Euro of your claim?
You have rights as an employee and you may be entitled to compensation.
Employment law in Ireland is very comprehensive. Your employment relationship is essentially based on a contract of employment and there are certain rights, both express and implied, in that contract as well as employee rights guaranteed to every employee by legislation under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2015.
These rights still apply to you even if you don’t have a contract of employment.
But if you’ve been dismissed how do you enforce these rights and what do you need to do to get redress and to claim any compensation you may be due?
Unfair dismissal cases are dealt with by the Workplace Relations Commission (the WRC). At these hearings, an independent Adjudicator will listen to both sides’ argument’s and follow up with a decision to your representative by post. The process is relatively painless compared to that of the Labour, Circuit or High Court, taking roughly 6 to 9 months from start to finish with our help!
The legislation which governs this area of law is the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2015 and employee rights and unfair dismissals in particular are dealt with.
Procedure in an Unfair Dismissal Case
Unfair Dismissal Cases must be commenced within six months of your dismissal so if you have been dismissed, it is imperative that you move quickly. To apply to the Workplace Relations Commission, you must fill out their online form, detailing your personal information, your employers contact details, as well as which claims you intend to pursue your employer for. In the case of Unfair Dismissal, your possible claims include straight up Unfair Dismissal, Constructive Dismissal or Unfair Selection for Redundancy.
It is crucial in an Unfair Dismissal case that when completing this form you correctly identify the employer. Often employers operate under a trading name but have been constituted in the form of a limited company. It is this limited company which must be named on the form, as this is the legal entity that owes you a legal obligation. However in the case that you ask for our help, we can help you with this form to ensure all details are correct.
How long can the Workplace Relations Commission process take?
The application process in the Workplace Relations Commission takes anything from 6 to 9 months due to the volume of complaints currently being received. An employee or their Representation will initially receive an acknowledgement of an application which will be copied to the employer. Both sides will receive further correspondence as your trial date approaches encouraging us to lodge written submissions. These submissions act as a written account of what you have gone through during your time with the company. You or your Representative will rely on this document during the hearing.
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What happens at the Unfair Dismissal hearing?
The Workplace Relations Commission hears the case made by each party. The employer usually goes first as the onus is on the employer to prove that the employee was not unfairly dismissed.
This is extremely important because in employment law there is an automatic presumption that the dismissal has been unfair. It is therefore up to the employer to prove otherwise. The exception to this is constructive dismissal when the onus is on the employee to prove that they have been dismissed unfairly.
The most important aspect of an unfair dismissal case relates to the procedures followed by an employer in terminating or dismissing an employee. In Labour law and in particular in an unfair dismissals case, an employment termination is only deemed fair in certain circumstances and the main issue is often whether a fair procedure was followed and whether an employee was given the opportunity to defend his position and good name.
Each party should prepare four copies of all documents and submissions. A copy of this is submitted in advance to the WRC via email and the remaining four copies are brought to the hearing on the day.
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The case is heard in a less formal manner to that of a court case with the witnesses introducing evidence through direct and cross-examination. The normal rules of evidence apply, however, their application is often considered to be quite lax. The Adjudicator upon commencement of the hearing will explain in which manner she wants the hearing to be managed. Formally or informally.
Thus initially the employer will be heard and the employee will normally then respond to questions from their own legal representative and then will be subject to cross-examination by the legal representatives of their employer’s Representation or the employer themselves should they not bring Representation with them.
Each party is normally given the opportunity to make any closing statements at the end of the hearing. This gives both Representatives the chance to bring their most important points to the Adjudicator’s attention once more.
The Decision of the Workplace Relations Commission
The Workplace Relations Commission will normally take six to eight weeks to deliver their decision which will be in the form of a written summary of the submissions and evidence and the decision based on all of that information.
Decisions can be appealed to the Labour Court
If you’d like to find out more about your employment rights in a case of unfair dismissal or about whether you have a Claim please call Employment Matters on 1890 88 90 90 or 086 783 4579.
The Unfair Dismissal Acts 1977 – 2015
The purpose of this Act is to protect employees from being unfairly dismissed from their jobs. The Act enables employees who believe that they have been unfairly dismissed to present a claim as it provides an adjudication system for redress for an employee whose dismissal has been found to be unfair.
This Act applies to people over 16 with at least 12 months continuous service.
However this act does not apply to the following:
- Employees who have reached the normal retiring age or who on the date of dismissal had not attained the age of 16 years
- Persons working for a close relative in a private house or farm, provided both also live in the same house or farm
- Members of the Defence Force and the Gardai
- Persons undergoing full-time training or apprenticeship in FAS establishments
The condition for 12 months service does not apply to an employee whose dismissal results from one or more of the following:
- The employee’s pregnancy, giving birth or breastfeeding (or any matters connected therewith)
- The exercise or proposed exercise by the employee of rights under the Maternity Protection Act
- The exercise or contemplated exercise by an employees of his/her rights to adoptive leave Act
- The exercise or proposed exercise by an employee of the right to Parental Leave or Force Majeure under and in accordance with the Parental Leave Act
- The exercise or proposed exercise by the employee of the right to Carer’s Leave under and in accordance with the Carer’s Leave Act
The good news for employees is that in general, the Act provides that every dismissal of an employee will be presumed to have been unfair unless the employer can show substantial ground justifying the dismissal.
If you believe your rights have been breached by an employer you may be entitled to redress. For a free assessment of your case, you can make a claim through Employment Matters or call us on 051 841 641.
Important Note: Employment Matters is committed to providing Clients with the highest levels of service and care. All details submitted to Employment Matters will be held in strictest confidence and in compliance with the terms of the Data Protection Acts. Employment Matters is not a Solicitor’s Practice and therefore does not act in that capacity. In the event that any conflict of interest arises, Employment Matters guarantees to absent itself from dealing with either party and will advise the parties immediately of any such conflict.