How to Enforce a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Decision

workplace relations commission

Have you succeeded in your claim at the Workplace Relations Commission?

If so, the employer has 56 days to carry out the decision. If he fails to do so you can apply to the District Court for a Court order forcing the employer to carry out the WRC decision.

If your decision was for reinstatement or re-engagement the District Court can substitute its own order and award you up to 104 weeks’ pay.

The District Court also has the power to award interest to be paid to you.

It is an offence to fail to comply with the District Court order unless the employer can show, on the balance of probabilities, that it is simply unable to pay due to financial circumstances.

Appealing the Adjudicator’s Decision

If you are unhappy with the decision of the WRC Adjudicator you can appeal the decision to the Labour Court within 42 days. Labour Court hearings are in public, unlike the WRC hearing which is private.

Here are the relevant sections of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015:

Section 43 Workplace Relations Act, 2015-enforcement of decision of adjudication officer

Appeal to Labour Court from decision of adjudication officer-section 44

Enforcement of decision of Labour Court-section 45
Part 4 of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 deals with complaints and disputes.

How to Enforce a Decision from the Employment Appeals Tribunal

There are different routes for you to take, depending on which act your claim was under.

Here’s a handy chart produced by the WRC showing you where to go.

How to Make a Complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)

Workplace-Relations-Commission

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.

The Hearing

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.

Appeals

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.

Workplace Relations Bill 2014 Set to Deliver Massive Changes in Employment Law and Prosecution of Employment Claims

workplace-relations

The Workplace Relations Bill 2014, when enacted into law, will have a huge impact on how employment rights in Ireland will be protected.

It is expected to become law on 1st October, 2015.

The current confusing situation where you have five workplace relations bodies-the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA), the Equality Tribunal, Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) and the Labour Court-will cease.

There will be two bodies for employers, employees, and legal professionals to deal with:
1. The Workplace Relations Commission which will deal with complaints of first instance and
2. The Labour Court which will deal with appeals.

This should be welcomed by employers, employees, representatives of both, and legal professionals as the current situation is confusing, complex and can lead to “forum shopping”. Currently a dispute with a given set of circumstances can lead to the need to bring the different complaints/issues in different fora.

Early Resolution/Mediation Agreements

The bill also provides for a legally binding early resolution or mediation facility. Participation is not obligatory and parties may opt to proceed straight to adjudication, but where it is undertaken it can lead to a legally binding pre-arbitration agreement that could prove less costly.

An important aspect of this mediation agreement is that if an employer offers a settlement but the employee rejects it, the offer cannot be used as an indication of culpability during a later hearing.

Adjudication sessions will be held in private before a single officer who will hear the claims against a broad spectrum of employment law considerations.

The costs involved for both employees and employers in dealing with different complaints arising from the one set of facts is expected to be a thing of the past.

It is hoped that the 2 new bodies will see a speeding up of claims and appeals and a reduction in the current long wait times.

The thrust of this legislation is to expedite claims where possible but clearly there must remain room for appeal: decisions by an adjudicator can be brought to the Labour Court (within 42 days) with full public hearings points of law to the High Court.

Costs cannot be awarded to either side in a dispute as is the situation at the moment. Legal representation is not mandatory but would probably be advisable.

UPDATE 2015

Workplace Relations Act, 2015

The Workplace Relations Act, 2015 was signed into law by the President in May, 2015 and is expected to come into force on 1st October, 2015 when the commencement order is signed by the Minister.

Read or download the Workplace Relations Act, 2015.