The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is the new body which, from 1st October 2015, will hear all cases concerning complaints about breaches of employment and equality law in the workplace.
To make a complaint you need to fill out the Workplace Relations Complaint form which you can access here.
WRC Procedures in Investigating and Hearing Complaints
Fill out the Workplace Relations Complaint form accurately, and submit it online.
Be careful, though, that the complaint has been received by the WRC.
You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt immediately; if you don’t, follow up with the WRC.
Most complaints or disputes must be notified within 6 months (different time limits apply to complaints under the Redundancy Payment Acts and Equality Acts) of the alleged breach of your right; 12 months will be allowed in exceptional circumstances and you must show reasonable cause for the delay to an adjudication officer.
All material, documents, correspondence will be copied to the other party so that both parties will have all relevant documents relating to the complaint.
If a complaint is frivolous or vexatious an adjudication officer has the power to dismiss it. (Section 42 Workplace Relations Act, 2015).
In certain cases, unless one or both parties object, mediation may be used to try to resolve the issue. Mediation is voluntary, confidential, and without prejudice.
Employment Equality and Constructive Dismissal Cases
In Employment Equality and constructive dismissal complaints a statement must be submitted by the complainant, who has the burden of proof in these two categories of cases.
Employment Equality Cases
In this type of case you must give as much detail on the form itself as possible. You must set out the fact, link the facts to the alleged discrimination, and provide any other relevant information to support your case.
Constructive Dismissal Cases
The same requirement applies to constructive dismissal cases. You must set out the facts leading to your quitting the employment, whether you invoked the grievance procedure (you should), any investigation carried out, and any other relevant information.
Other Unfair Dismissal Cases
In other unfair dismissal cases the burden of proof is on the employer/respondent. He has to submit a statement setting out the facts leading to the dismissal including any disciplinary hearing held, investigation, appeal, and so forth.
This must be submitted within 21 days of request from the WRC.
All Other Employment and Equality Cases
A statement should be submitted by the respondent within 21 days of receiving the complaint form from the WRC setting out any legal points he wishes to make, for example there was no dismissal or the complainant was not an employee.
Each party may be asked to give a list of witnesses he proposes to call, and the reason.
If the complainant does not attend the hearing the Adjudication Officer can dismiss the complaint.
If the respondent does not appear a decision may be made in his absence by the Adjudication Officer.
All of these WRC hearings are private and members of the public are not permitted to attend.
After the hearing a decision will be sent out by the Adjudication Officer within 28 days, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Importantly, the WRC hearing is held in private, with the names of the parties being anonymised for publication on the Workplace Relations website.
You might also be interested in questioning at WRC hearings and 10 rules for cross examination.
Either party may appeal to the Labour Court. If there is no appeal the decisions is legally binding and can be enforced through the District Court. Appeals to the Labour Court are public.
Here’s a link to the WRC guide to Procedures in the Investigation and Adjudication of Employment and Equality Complaints.