The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) is an independent body in Ireland which allows individuals to use this informal and inexpensive way to obtain redress for infringements of certain employment rights. It was set up under Section 39 of the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 and was originally established to adjudicate in disputes about redundancy. Since then its powers have been extended so that it now deals with disputes under a number of employment laws.
The Tribunal consists of 3 people: a Chairperson (with legal qualifications) and one representative each, from panels formed by the trade unions and employer organisations. Anyone sitting on the Tribunal is prohibited from having a personal interest in the case. Hearings are generally open to the public and proceedings may be reported in the media. The secretariat which assists the Tribunal’s administration is provided by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
What the Tribunal does ?
The Tribunal hears a wide range of disputes concerning employment rights matters and makes legally binding decisions. Depending on the legislation, it hears claims or appeals. Sometimes a claim is made directly to the Tribunal, in other cases it only hears appeals against decisions or recommendations of a Rights Commissioner – see below for more details.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal is established to deal with disputes under the following legislation:
Can you represent youself at the Tribunal Hearing ?
Making a direct claim
You can make a direct claim to the Tribunal for redundancy and you should do this within 12 months of the date of termination of your employment. You may make a direct claim for unfair dismissal if you or your employer objects to a Rights Commissioner hearing. You should do this within 6 months of the date of your dismissal.
Making an appeal to the Tribunal
Under the following legislation, cases are first heard by a Rights Commissioner. You may then appeal against the decision or recommendation of the Rights Commissioner to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 to 2001, Payment of Wages Act 1991, Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 and 2001, Maternity Protection Act 1994, Adoptive Leave Act 1995, Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996, Parental Leave Act 1998, Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998, European Communities (Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations 2003, European Communities (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2000 and Carer’s Leave Act, 2001.
The time limit for making an appeal is between 4 and 6 weeks (depending on the particular Act) after the date of the decision or recommendation of the Rights Commissioner.
If your claim under the Employers’ Insolvency Scheme has been refused you may make an appeal to the Tribunal.
Implementation of a Rights Commissioner’s decision
If a Rights Commissioner has made a recommendation or decision that your employer has not carried out or appealed, after 6 weeks you may apply to the Tribunal to have the decision or recommendation implemented.
Waiting times for hearings at the Tribunal
There is a backlog of cases awaiting hearing by the Employment Appeals Tribunal. Currently (2012), you will be waiting for more than a year before your case is heard. Exact waiting times for your county can be obtained from the Secretariat of the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
Appealing a determination
The decision of the Tribunal is generally called a determination and is legally binding. Remember to bear the following points in mind in relation to employment appeals:
Under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2001 and the Maternity Protection of Employees Act 1981, either party may appeal to the Circuit Court within 6 weeks of the determination (the appeal is not confined to a point of law). If no appeal is brought to the Circuit Court and the employer does not implement the determination, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation may bring proceedings in the Circuit Court on behalf of the employee.
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Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.
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