Did you know that you cannot bring a claim for unfair dismissal and discriminatory dismissal at the same time?
They are considered to be parallel complaints and you will have to choose one or the other.
Let me clarify: section 77 of the Employment Equality Act, 1988 states
77.— F117 [ (1) A person who claims —
( a ) to have been discriminated against or subjected to victimisation,
( b ) to have been dismissed in circumstances amounting to discrimination or victimisation,
( c ) not to be receiving remuneration in accordance with an equal remuneration term, or
( d ) not to be receiving a benefit under an equality clause,
in contravention of this Act may, subject to subsections (3) to (9) , seek redress by referring the case to the F118 [ Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission ] . ]
Thus, you are claiming that you have been dismissed in circumstances amounting to discrimination or victimisation.
You can also bring a claim under the Unfair Dismissals act, 1977 but you will have to choose which of these claims you will ultimately pursue.
Why? Because Section 101(4)(a) of the Employment Equality act, 1998 states:
(4A) (a) Where an employee refers —
(i) a case or claim under section 77 , and
(ii) a claim for redress under the Act of 1977,
to the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission in respect of a dismissal, then, from the relevant date, the case or claim referred to in subparagraph (i) shall, in so far only as it relates to such dismissal, be deemed to have been withdrawn unless, before the relevant date, the employee withdraws the claim under the Act of 1977.
(b) In this subsection —
‘ Act of 1977 ’ means the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 ;
‘ dismissal ’ has the same meaning as it has in the Act of 1977;
‘ relevant date ’ means such date as may be prescribed by, or determined in accordance with, regulations made by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. ]
This means that the discrimination based claim under the Employment Equality act, 1988 will be deemed to be withdrawn unless, 41 days after notification from the WRC, you withdraw the claim under the Unfair Dismissals act, 1977.
Then, if you withdraw the claim under the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977 your discrimination based claim under the Equality Act 1988 will go ahead.
If you don’t respond to the letter you receive from the WRC your claim under the Equality Act, 1988 will be deemed to be withdrawn and your unfair dismissal claim will be dealt with.
Section 101A of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 also prohibits parallel claims as follows:
101A. — Where the conduct of an employer constitutes both a contravention of Part III or IV and a contravention of either the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001 or the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 , relief may not be granted to the employee concerned in respect of the conduct under both this Act and either of the said Acts.
If you bring claims to the Workplace Relations Commission sometimes your case will be straightforward, but sometimes you can easily fall into a technical or legal roadblock that may give you a nasty surprise.
You should always seek legal advice before you bring any claim as it is vital that you choose the correct cause of action. This cannot be remedied later on and I have seen some very silly, basic mistakes made by workers who ultimately make some simple but fatal mistakes and end up with nothing but heartache and disappointment.