There is a wide number of forums available for employees to seek to have their employment rights upheld and vindicated.
• The Rights Commissioner service
• The Employment Appeals Tribunal
• The Labour Court
• The Labour Relations Commission
• The Equality Tribunal
• The Courts
• The Health and Safety Authority
• The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA).
Here is a brief look at these bodies. Elsewhere on this site you will see the occasions when you have to go to one of these bodies or the other as breaches of various pieces of employment law legislation occurs.
The Rights Commissioner service can deal with transfer of undertakings, unfair dismissals (if there is no objection by either party), health and safety, protection of employment, protection of young persons in employment, protection of fixed term workers, adoptive leave issues, carer’s leave, industrial relations, minimum wages, organisation of working time, terms of employment, payment of wages, parental leave, maternity protection, persons reporting child abuse.
Take a look at the Labour Relations Commission website at www.lrc.ie for more information and to download the relevant forms.
Employment Appeals Tribunal
The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) is the traditional venue for unfair dismissal cases, even though a Rights Commissioner can hear such a case provided there is no objection by either party. The EAT can determine cases itself in certain circumstances as well as deal with appeals from decisions of the Rights Commissioner.
It can hear cases concerning minimum notice, terms of employment, payment of wages, organization of working time, transfer of undertakings, parental leave, redundancy payments, carers leave, maternity protection, adoptive leave, and more.
The Labour Court is essentially an industrial relations tribunal, notwithstanding it’s name. It’s principal task is to attempt to resolve industrial relations disputes.
Whilst it can hear cases at first instance in certain matters such as organisation of working time, protection of employment, industrial relations, protection of part time employment, protection of fixed term employment, employment equality and minimum wages it sees itself as a forum of last resort and cases should only be referred to it when all other attempts at dispute resolution have failed.
Labour Relations Commission
The Labour Relations Commission is concerned with industrial disputes and providing the Rights Commissioner Service.
The Equality Tribunal
The Office of the Director of Equality Investigation (the Equality Tribunal) is the venue for redress under the Employment Equality Acts.
Decisions of the Equality Tribunal can be appealed to the Labour Court.
The Civil Courts deal with applications for injunctions, wrongful dismissal, and breach of contract. The can also hear appeals from the other forums above.
The Health and Safety Authority is concerned with occupational health and safety and can prosecute breaches of health and safety law. It also plays a large role in the enforcement of anti bullying and harassment policies and procedures in the workplace.
NERA (National Employment Rights Authority)
NERA is looked at closely here. It’s primary function is to provide information to employers and employees and to monitor and inspect employment conditions. It can also prosecute breaches and enforce compliance re holidays, organisation of working time, dismissal, notice, working time, and payment of wages.
It’s enforcement services unit can attempt to have determinations of the Labour Court or EAT enforced through the Courts. (However you might be better off engaging the services of a solicitor and pursuing this yourself as it is likely to be quicker.)