Unfair Dismissal Law is governed by the 1977 Unfair Dismissals Act. Its legislation is based on two principles:
- That procedures must be followed in effecting a termination.
- There must be sufficient grounds to justify the termination.
All employees are covered by legislation. Those that are have to satisfy the following basic requirements:
- One year's continuous service with an employer. Those who are normally expected to work for eight hours per week.
- Employee's who have not reached the normal retirement age for the employment in question.
The only excluded categories are:
- People employed in the Defence Forces and the Gardai.
- Force trainees.
- Civil Servants.
The legislation allows for the exclusion of dismissals resulting from the ending of a fixed term contract at its expiry. In order for these exclusions to apply:
- The contract must be in writing.
- The contract must exclude the legislation and the contract must be signed by both parties.
In order to proceed with a claim under legislation the employee must be able to show that he is actually dismissed. Constructive Dismissal
Where an employee terminates his employment because of an employer's conduct towards him and that conduct is deemed sufficiently serious The employee may be entitled to claim constructive dismissal.
The following circumstances may in certain situations amount to a constructive dismissal claim:
- Reduction in pay.
- Change in working environment.
- Change in job functions.
- Change in location.
- Change in working hours.
- Unmerited warnings.
- Sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace.
Calculation of remuneration is important in the assessment to the value of a claim being the actual attributable to a dismissal.
Remuneration has been held to include such items as basic pay or salary, commission, bonus', overtime, tips, benefits in kind such as VHI, private use of company car, subsidised telephone costs, clothing allowance, pension contributions.Unfair Dismissal Categories
Unfair dismissals are divided into two categories namely:
- Dismissals deemed to be automatically unfair.
- Dismissals deemed to be not unfair.
Those that automatically amount to unfair dismissal are:
- An employee's membership or activity on behalf of a trade union. which he engaged in such activies are outside his hours of work or are at permitted times during his hours of work.
- An employee's religious or political opinions.
- If the employee is engaged in civil or criminal proceedings against the employer or is a witness to such proceedings.
- Race, colour and sexual orientation of the employee.
- Age of the employee.
- The employee's membership of the travelling community.
- The pregnancy of the employee or matters connected therewith.
An employee may bring an unfair dismissal claim to a Rights Commissioner or the Employment Appeals Tribunal within six months of the date of dismissal extendable to twelve months under the 1993 Act where appropriate.
Documentation and printed forms are available for the making of claims through the Rights Commissioner and the Employment Appeals Tribunal. When the claim form is served on the employer the employer must revert to the Rights Commissioner within 21 days advising of the objection or willingness to participate in the hearing in the case of Employment Appeals Tribunal hearings an Appearance form will be forwarded by the Tribunal to the employer and the employer must complete this and return it to the Tribunal and file it on the employee or the employee's representative within 14 days of receipt. Completion and service of all documentation is essential.Rights of Employees in Relation to Redundancy
An employee who is dismissed should be technically dismissed by reason of redundancy the dismissal is attributable wholly or mainly to the fact that the employer has ceased or intends to cease to carry on his business for the purposes of which the employer was employed by him. The fact that the requirements of that business is for employees to carry out work of a particular kind in a place where he is so employed have ceased or diminished the fact that the employer has decided to carry on business with fewer or no employees requiring the work for which the employee has been employed to be done by other employees or otherwise. The fact that the employer has decided that the work for which the employee has been employed should henceforth be done in a different manner for which the employee is not sufficiently qualified or the fact that the employer has decided that the work for which the employee has been employed should henceforward be done by a person who is also capable of doing other work for which the employee is not sufficiently qualified or trained. Redundancy Payment
The employees who are qualified to receive a statutory redundancy payment under the Redundancy Payments Act will have the actual amount calculated in accordance with the 1976 Redundancy Act.Notice Period
The employee must have been in continuous service with the same employer for at least 13 weeks.
Notice period is as follows:
- 13 Weeks - 2 years > 1 week
- 2 years - 5 years > 2 weeks
- 5 years - 10 years > 4 weeks
- 10 years - 15 years > 6 weeks
- More than 15 years > 8 weeks