Have you been the victim of an unfair dismissal or has your employment been terminated in an unfair or unjust manner?
Is your employer treating you in such a way as to make your position untenable which could lead to Constructive dismissal?
Have you been unfairly selected for redundancy while others who arrived to the company after you, or who are less skilled, are kept on?
Are you involved in an employment dispute involving unfair dismissal, redundancy or constructive dismissal?
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 2007.
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 both the Rights Commissioner service and at the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
The legislation which governs this area of law is the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 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 Employment Appeals Tribunal for redress you simply complete an application form with the Workplace Relations Commission.
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.
How long can the Employment Appeals process take?
The application process in the Employment Appeals Tribunal takes anything from 50 to 80 weeks due to the volume of complaints currently being received. An employee will initially receive an acknowledgement of an application which will be copied to the employer and your employer will have the opportunity to respond in the form of a T2 form.
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The Unfair Dismissals case will then be set down for hearing.
The Rights Commissioner Service on the other hand is a quicker process that is however often frowned upon by employment solicitors. The view is usually that because a Rights Commissioner determination is normally not binding and can be appealed to the Employment Appeals Tribunal anyway, it is advisable to go straight to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
The Unfair Dismissal Hearing
An Employment Appeals Tribunal hearing is constituted by way of a three-person panel, made up of a chairperson (who is usually a barrister) a representative from an the employers group, IBEC, and an employee’s group usually from one of the trade unions.
What happens at the Unfair Dismissal hearing?
The Employment Appeal Tribunal 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 five copies of all documents and submissions. These are handed up to the Tribunal through the secretary and can be used as a guide to the case being made by each side. The Applicant in an appeal is the employee while the employer is known as the Respondent.
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The case is heard in a similar manner to 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.
Thus initially the employer will be heard and the employee will normally then take the stand and having taken the oath, they will respond to questions from their own legal representative and then will be subject to cross-examination by the legal representatives of their employer.
Each party is normally given the opportunity to make a submission at the end of the hearing, summing up their case and supporting this with relevant case law.
Unfair Dismissal cases will usually be completed in a morning or afternoon but if more complicated could last a full day. Some cases however may take even longer depending on the number of witnesses.
The Decision of an Employment Appeals Tribunal
The Employment Appeals Tribunal 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 of the tribunal.
Decisions can be appealed to the Circuit 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 – 2007
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:
1. Employees who have reached the normal retiring age or who on the date of dismissal had not attained the age of 16 years
2. Persons working for a close relative in a private house or farm, provided both also live in the same house or farm
3. Members of the Defence Force and the Gardai
4. 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:
1. The employees pregnancy, giving birth or breastfeeding (or any matters connected therewith)
2. The exercise or proposed exercise by the employee of rights under the Maternity Protection Act
3. The exercise or contemplated exercise by an employees of his/her rights to adoptive leave Act
4. 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
5. 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 1890 88 90 90 or complete the form above and we will contact you.
What our clients have to say:
“Thanks Sean, you really helped me out. If it wasn’t for you, I’d have probably had a heart attack from the stress of the whole process…and what a great result, I can’t recommend you highly enough.”
Brian, 26, Tyre fitter, Wexford
“Sean has extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of employment law. Sean has successfully supported many clients facing legal issues regarding employment relationships. I would be happy to recommend Sean to clients.”
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Important Note: The above procedures are samples only and not intended as legal advice and as such should not be relied upon. The content of this site is not recommended as a substitute for legal advice and as such Employment Matters accepts no responsibility in relation to these and the above does not constitute legal advice.
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.