The workplace relations commission came into being on the 1st of October 2015 and prior to its existence, there were various bodies or forums which would deal with the different types of employment disputes.
Now employment law related matters between employees and employers proceed to the one place being the Workplace Relations Commission.
The Commission provides different services but here are some examples. Any decision appeals from the Workplace Relations Commission proceed to the Labour Court.
If an employee has an issue at work regarding the conditions of employment or pay, for example, they can seek the assistance of a Conciliator which is an Industrial Relations Officer to act as a helpful intermediary to resolve the dispute.
They key nature of employee and employer participation in this service is voluntary.
No decision is imposed on the parties by the Workplace Relations Commission facilitator. If the dispute cannot be resolved, it can be referred the Labour Court if the parties elect to do so.
When completing the application form to the Workplace Relations Commission, the employee and the employer both have the options to choose this forum to attempt to resolve matters.
Once the applicant indicates he/she will engage in Mediation, the Respondent employer then is entitled to consider if they will engage in mediation.
The mediation process itself can be done via telephone.
In our opinion this is not the way to proceed. Parties can instead have a face to face meeting and this is the only way to proceed, if parties choose mediation as a forum option.
Mediation is a worthwhile option for both the employee and employer. If it doesn’t work, parties can move on and proceed to have the matter decided upon by an Adjudicator.
This is the service that most people will be thinking of in their minds when they attend with a solicitor with a desire to resolve a workplace dispute.
One firstly submits a completed complaint form to the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission and it will then be assessed whether the dispute can be referred to mediation or adjudication.
An inquiry is arranged to have the case heard.
The Adjudicator will listen to the case and they have decision making powers ie to make a determination in the case.
The hearings of these matters are confidential. Appeals of decisions made by Adjudicators are made to the Labour Court.
Inspectors who are persons appointed by the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission have powers to inspect places of employment on behalf of the WRC to ensure compliance with employment law legislation.
Examples of Inspector’s powers:
- Attend and enter at a place of employment to inspect books, records, documents etc.
- Remove these books, records, documents from the place of employment;
- To examine an employer or employee, and to require such person to answer such questions as the inspector asks relating to the employment of a person and to make a declaration as to the truth of those answers.
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. Legal advice should be sought 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.