Employment Law Solicitors for Ireland

The relationship between an Employer and Employee is in essence a legal one.

The principal document underpinning this legal relationship is the Employment Contract.

An Employer must under Irish Law provide a written statement of the terms of employment at the outset of the employment, which is required by the Terms of Employment Act 1994.

In addition to the Employment Contract the employment relationship is subject to Employment Law Legislation in Ireland.

There is a significant body of legislation with respect to Employment Law in Ireland.

Disputes between employers and employees can be resolved internally if there is goodwill and a degree of trust between the parties.

If persons require external assistance we can assist them to understand their legal position, in our opinion, after we apply the law to the facts, and they can decide which path forward is prudent.

We have a number of information posts below and an issue of relevance to you may be discussed in the information posts.

If you wish to enquire about a matter we can be contacted on info@clearysolicitors.com  (052) 612 1999 0r  (01) 546 1121.

Employment Law Ireland

Cleary & Co. Solicitors, Litigation Law Firm – Experienced Employment Law Solicitors


Kieran Cleary and Roger Cleary of Cleary & Co. are responsible for files involving litigation in our firm.

Employment Law Advice for Employees

We assist employees who have been treated unfairly who have sought assistance either during the course of the employment relationship or after the employment relationship has ended.

There is much on the line for an employee in a workplace dispute as evidently their employment is their primary source of income and reputational matters regarding future employment with respect to references can be of concern. It is important for them to know their legal position, in our opinion.

Common cases we act for employees fall under the Unfair Dismissal legislation, Redundancy legislation, Equality acts for discrimination matters, maternity leave right breach matters, agency worker matters, protected disclosure matters and high court injunctions for breach of contract / interference with a constitutional right to work issue. We act for clients before the Workplace Relations Commission in mediations and adjudications (case hearings) and before the the Labour Court.

Employment Advice for Employers

We assist Employers defending claims before the Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court.

Many employers simply need advice to understand employee legislative rights regarding sick leave, stress leave matters, agency workers, fixed term workers, part time workers, maternity leave right matters, collective redundancy matters etc. for example.

We assist employers with employment law advice with respect to dealing with a workplace dispute.

If employers just require assistance with contracts drafting we can also assist.

We’re Here To Help With Your Employment Law Questions

What is constructive dismissal in Ireland?

It occurs where the employee is forced to resign in intolerable workplace circumstances wherein the conduct of the employer has become intolerable and the employee has no alternative but to leave the employment. As the resignation was not truly voluntary, it is in effect a termination.

Do I need a solicitor for an unfair dismissal case ?

No, you don’t. It is simply a decision you have to make based on if you perceive there is value in obtaining a solicitor or not for a case. If you perceive there is no value in it, like in any service, you won’t want to obtain such a service.

You can obviously ask a solicitor what specifically their service involves and ascertain their experience for such cases, which may assist you to make the decision.

Publication of Remuneration

With the introduction of the Gender Pay Gap Information Act, 2021 Employers will be required to publish the reasons for remuneration differences between male and female employees. The Act applies to employers with a certain amount of employees.

The burden of Proof in Unfair Dismissal Cases

In these cases, the burden is on the employer to prove there were substantial grounds justifying the dismissal. The employer must show their response to a situation was reasonable and the sanction chosen was one within which a reasonable employer might make. If an employee is being dismissed for a performance issue, for example, then before the decision to dismiss is taken, the employee should be told which areas they are failing in, given an opportunity to improve and be warned about any dismissal.

Should the alternatives to a Redundancy be examined by an employer?


In Panisi -v- JBC Europe Limited 2012 ELR70 where
Mr Justice Charleton held: “It may be prudent as a mark of genuine redundancy, that alternatives
to letting an employee go should be examined. Similarly, a fair selection
process may indicate an honest approach to redundancy by an

Workplace Relations Commission

In Ireland the Workplace Relations Commission was established to deal with disputes between employers and employees.

Within its dispute resolution services adjudication ( case hearing ) and medication are both options available as a means to resolve a dispute.

The WRC can make binding decisions similar to a court.

The Commission also carries out inspections of workplaces to ensure compliance with employment legislation.

Maternity Leave Right

There is considerable legal protection in Ireland for female workers with respect to maternity leave rights.

One such common question is what is the rule with respect to returning to work post the leave period.

Under Section 26 of the Maternity Protection Act 1994(as amended) there is a right to return to work which states :

26.—(1) Subject to this Part, on the expiry of a period during which an employee was absent from work while on protective leave, the employee shall be entitled to return to work—

(a) F56[with the employer with whom she or he was working immediately before the start of that period or, where during the employee’s absence from work there was a change of ownership of the undertaking in which she or he was employed immediately before her or his absence], with the owner (in this Act referred to as “the successor”) of the undertaking at the expiry of the period of absence

(b) in the job which the employee held immediately before the start of that period.

Disputes arise when an employee returns to work to a job which is dissimilar to that they were contracted to do.

Pregnancy related Workplace Discrimination

If you wish to know more about this you can read about it here.

Workplace Bullying Legal Guide

If you wish to know more about this you can read about it here.

What is the Appeals timeframe from the Workplace Relations Commission

Appeals to the labour court must be made and submitted to them within 42 days from the date of the WRCs decision.

Severance Agreements

If an employment relationship is not working out, one avenue of mutually beneficial departure is vis a vis a severance agreement, if there is willingness on both sides.

A severance agreement between an employer and an employee that outlines the terms and conditions of the employee’s departure from the company.

Severance agreements can be a very good way to resolve a dispute as issues can be dealt with at speed and decisions made on both sides. As a dispute resolution mechanism it is quicker than a case.

There must be worthwhile intent on both sides to resolve in this manner.

What legal protections do I have as a whistleblower, and how should I report concerns about wrongdoing in my workplace ?

Protected Disclosures Act 2014

The Protected Disclosures Act provides legal protections for whistleblowers who report certain types of wrongdoing, including criminal offenses, breaches of legal obligations, health and safety violations, and environmental damage. The act protects whistleblowers from retaliation, such as dismissal, demotion, harassment, or victimization, for making a protected disclosure.


Whistleblowers have the right to make protected disclosures confidentially, meaning that their identity as the whistleblower should be kept confidential to the greatest extent possible. Disclosures can be made to your employer, a designated person within your organization, a prescribed person or body, or in certain circumstances, directly to the appropriate authorities.

Internal Reporting Procedures

Many organisations have internal reporting procedures or whistleblowing policies in place to facilitate the reporting of concerns about wrongdoing. If your organisation has such procedures, follow them to report your concerns internally first, unless there is an imminent risk of harm or the organization is involved in the wrongdoing.

Designated Persons

Under the Protected Disclosures Act, employers are required to designate a person or persons within the organisation to receive protected disclosures. If you have concerns about wrongdoing in your workplace, you can report them to the designated person, who is responsible for handling and investigating the disclosure in accordance with the law.

Prescribed Persons and Bodies

If you are unable or unwilling to report your concerns internally, or if you believe your employer is involved in the wrongdoing, you can report your concerns to a prescribed person or body specified under the Protected Disclosures Act. These prescribed persons include regulatory authorities, government departments, and certain professional bodies.

Protection from Retaliation

Employers are prohibited from subjecting whistleblowers to retaliation or victimization for making a protected disclosure.

Legal Redress

Legal redress options are available before the Workplace Relations Commission, labour court, high court or circuit court.

What are my rights regarding privacy and data protection in the workplace ?

Employees have certain rights regarding privacy and data protection in the workplace. These rights are protected under both Irish employment law and data protection legislation, particularly the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003, and more recently the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Here are the some rights you have regarding privacy and data protection in the workplace:

  1. Fair Processing of Personal Data: Your employer must process your personal data fairly, lawfully, and transparently.
  2. Access to Your Personal Data: You have the right to access your personal data held by your employer and to request copies of any information they hold about you. Your employer must respond to such requests within a specified timeframe and provide the information free of charge, unless the request is excessive or unfounded.
  3. Accuracy of Personal Data: Your employer is responsible for ensuring that the personal data they hold about you is accurate, up-to-date, and relevant. You have the right to request corrections to any inaccurate or incomplete information.
  4. Security of Personal Data: Your employer is obligated to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect your personal data from unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, or destruction. This includes safeguarding personal data stored electronically or in paper format.
  5. Purpose Limitation: Your personal data should only be processed for specified, explicit, and legitimate purposes, and should not be further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes.
  6. Data Retention: Your employer should only retain your personal data for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes for which it was collected. They should have clear policies and procedures in place for the retention and disposal of personal data.
  7. Monitoring in the Workplace: While employers have the right to monitor certain activities in the workplace, such as internet usage and email communications, they must do so in a proportionate and transparent manner. Employees should be informed of any monitoring activities and the purposes for which they are conducted.
  8. Privacy Policies and Notices: Your employer should have clear and accessible privacy policies and notices that explain how they collect, use, and protect personal data in the workplace. You should be provided with information about your rights and how to exercise them.
  9. Consent: Your employer must obtain your explicit consent before processing any sensitive personal data or engaging in any automated decision-making that significantly affects you.
  10. Complaints and Remedies: If you believe your privacy or data protection rights have been violated, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Data Protection Commission (DPC). The DPC has the authority to investigate complaints and impose penalties on organizations that fail to comply with data protection laws.
What are my rights as an employee under Irish employment law?

There are many.

Here are examples.

·  Minimum Wage: You have the right to be paid at least the statutory minimum wage, which is set by the government and periodically reviewed.

·  Written Terms of Employment: Your employer is required to provide you with a written statement of your terms of employment within five days of starting your job. This statement should include details such as your job title, pay, hours of work, and notice periods.

·  Working Hours: You have the right to work no more than the hours permitted by the Organisation of of Working Time Time 1997, as amended, unless you have voluntarily agreed to work longer hours. You are also entitled to rest breaks and daily and weekly rest periods.

·  Health and Safety: Your employer has a legal duty to provide a safe working environment and to take measures to protect your health and safety while at work. You have the right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions.

·  Protection from Discrimination: You are protected from discrimination on the grounds of gender, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or membership of the traveller community. Discrimination in hiring, promotion, pay, or treatment at work is prohibited.

·  Protection from Harassment and Bullying: You have the right to work in an environment free from harassment, bullying, and intimidation. Employers are responsible for preventing and addressing instances of harassment or bullying in the workplace.

·  Annual Leave and Public Holidays: You are entitled to paid annual leave and public holidays, with the amount of leave you receive depending on your length of service and working hours.

·  Sick Leave and Pay: You are entitled to sick leave and pay if you are unable to work due to illness or injury, subject to certain conditions and requirements set out by your employer.

·  Maternity and Paternity Leave: If you are expecting a child or are a new parent, you are entitled to maternity or paternity leave and may be eligible for statutory maternity or paternity pay.

·  Notice of Termination: You are entitled to receive notice from your employer if your employment is being terminated, and you may also be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment if you are made redundant.

What protections are in place for employees regarding working hours and breaks?

The Organisation of Working Time Act, as amended, provides for a legislative framework with respect to the rules governing work hours etc. for employees.

It sets out requirements with respect to :

  • Daily rest periods
  • Rests and intervals at work
  • Weekly rest periods
  • Sunday work
  • Weekly work hours
  • Nightly working hours
  • Public holidays entitlement
  • Annual leave entitlement

If the employee is not afforded with their basic legal rights in this regard, one can submit a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission pursuant to Section 27 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, as amended.

Minimum Notice Periods – Termination of Employment

Pursuant to the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts, 1973-2005, if an employer or an employer wishes to bring the employment to an end, they must provide minimum notice of the employment termination in accordance with the legislation.

The notice period required depends on the length of service.

13 weeks – 2 years service, one week must be provided.

2 years to 5 years, two weeks must be provided.

5 years to 10 years, four weeks must be provided.

10 years to 15 years, 6 weeks must be provided.

+15 years of service, eight weeks must be provided.

What health and safety obligations does an employer have in the workplace in ireland

Under Section 8 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 it states : Every employer shall ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her employees.

Employers have duties under the 2005 Act with respect to workplace safety and health.

There is also the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Regulations of 2007.

What is employment law legislation in Ireland?

There is a huge body of employment law in Ireland related legislation, such as the following examples:

  • Unfair Dismissals Acts
  • Payment of Wages Act
  • Maternity Protection Acts
  • Employment Equality Acts
  • Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act
  • Organisation of Working Time Act
  • Redundancy Payments Acts
Do the Workplace Relations Commission or Labour Court award legal costs?


Can I be reinstated to my old position by the Workplace Relations Commission?

If you have a claim for unfair dismissal, for example, and you contend the redundancy that arose was not genuine and you win your case, then the Adjudication case officer has a remedy available to him/her to grant you, being Reinstatement to your old position, as reinstatement is a permitted remedy by the legislation.

Can I claim Redundancy after a Lay-off?

An employee after 4 weeks of being laid off can furnish to the employer notice of intention to claim redundancy. If the employer considers the person is not entitled to redundancy, they must furnish a counter-notice denying liability for the redundancy within 7 days after being serviced by the employee of the notice of claim.

Should the employees right to retain their position be considered in a redundancy situation by the employer ?.

Yes. A genuine consultation process with the employee prior to redundancy is very important or a breach of the Unfair Dismissals Acts may be found.

What are the 9 grounds of the Employment Equality Act ?

The Gender ground, Race ground, Marital Status ground, Family Status ground, Sexual Orientation ground, Religious Belief ground, Age ground, Disability ground, Membership of the Traveller Community ground.

Legal Costs

We have a consultation fee cost and details of same will be provided to the person when they call for a consultation.

If we are acting for an employee to bring a case or an employer to bring or defend a case, after the the initial consultation and paper review, a client we act for will be provided with the total bill at the outset for the legal work, so will know what the total cost is.

Constructive Dismissal

If you wish to know more about constructive dismissal matters we have information posts you can see here and here.

Tupe Regulations

If you wish to know more about the TUPE relations matters we have information post you can see here.

Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

If you wish to know more about this if this is of relevance to you, you can get preliminary information on the matter here.

Protected Disclosures Law

If you wish to know more about this you can read about it here and here.

Redundancy Ireland Guide

If you wish to know more about this you can read about it here.

Workplace Harassment Legal Guide

If you wish to know more about this you can read about it here.

Mediation Dispute Resolution

Parties can have mediation arranged vis a vis their legal advisors and it can also be undertaken at the Workplace Relations Commission. It is a very good way also to resolve a dispute if decisions have been made on both sides to deal with the matter.

Mediation before the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in Ireland is a voluntary dispute resolution process designed to help parties resolve employment related disputes in a collaborative and confidential manner, without the need for formal adjudication or litigation. Mediation is facilitated by a trained and impartial mediator who assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute.

Can an employer change the terms of an employment contract?

A persons contract is a legally binding agreement.

If one party wishes to change a term, the consent and agreement should be obtained from the other party.

How is harrassment at the workplace defined in law ?

Harassment in the workplace refers to any unwanted conduct related to any of the protected grounds under the Employment Equality Acts that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for them.

Workplace harassment is prohibited under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015.

What should I do if I believe I have been unfairly dismissed or treated unfairly at work ?

Understand Your Rights: A solicitor can case review the matter for you and explain your rights and give an opinion how to proceed.

Gather Evidence: Document any incidents or actions that you believe constitute unfair treatment or unfair dismissal. This may include written records, emails, messages, witness statements, or any other relevant evidence that supports your case.

Raise the Issue Informally: If possible, try to resolve the issue informally by discussing your concerns with your manager or HR department. They may not be aware of the problem and may be willing to address it through mediation or other informal means.

Follow Grievance Procedures: If informal resolution attempts are unsuccessful or if the issue is serious, follow your employer’s grievance procedures to formally raise your concerns. This typically involves submitting a written grievance detailing the nature of the issue and the outcome you are seeking.

Seek Legal Advice: Consider seeking advice from an employment law solicitor who can assess your situation, advise you on your rights, and guide you through the process of addressing unfair treatment or dismissal. Such a solicitor can also represent you in negotiations or legal proceedings if necessary.

Consider Mediation: In some cases, mediation may be an effective way to resolve disputes between employees and employers. A neutral third party can facilitate discussions between the parties to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.

File a Claim: If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, you may have grounds to bring a claim for unfair dismissal to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) or the Labour Court. Similarly, if you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed, you may have grounds to bring a claim under equality legislation.

Keep Records: Maintain accurate records of all communications, meetings, and actions taken throughout the process of addressing the unfair treatment or dismissal. These records may be useful as evidence if you decide to pursue a legal claim.

Protect Your Health: Remember a problem that seems acute at the time takes on a different viewing point over time. An advisor helps you to deal with a problem.

We have seen people also whom were dismissed and it was the best thing that every happened to them on reflection.

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Contact Details

Ormond Building, Ground Floor
31-36 Ormond Quay Upper
Dublin 7

Tel: (01) 546 1121

Online Consultations: Available.

General Email: info@clearysolicitors.com

Law Chambers, Market St
Co. Tipperary

Tel: (052) 612 1999

Online Consultations: Available.

General Email: info@clearysolicitors.com


Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad outline of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute. Legal advice should be obtained from a solicitor prior to relying on anything in this article.

Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.