AOC Solicitors COVID-19 Hub - Read More

AOC
- News

AOC
- News

Labour Court sets aside decision of the WRC as it is time barred.

The Labour Court set aside the decision of the WRC in the recent case of Iarnród Éireann v Stephen Lynch. The Respondent appealed the decision of the Adjudication Officer, which directed that the Claimant be re-engaged by the Respondent within forty-two days of the date of his decision and that a final written warning should be placed on his personnel file. The Respondent made a preliminary submission at the outset of the WRC hearing as to whether the Complainants unfair dismissal claim was time barred. The dismissal occurred on 9th March 2016 however, the WRC did not receive the Complaint Form from the Complainant until 10th November 2016. The Respondent once again raised the aforementioned preliminary issue at the commencement of the appeal with substantive submissions on the issue. The Complainant submitted that he had a consultation with a solicitor shortly after his dismissal in March 2016 and that the Solicitor completed a Complaint Form on his behalf and gave him a copy of the completed Complaint Form. The Complainant subsequently met with a SIPTU officer to discuss his dismissal, showing him the Complaint Form completed by the solicitor. The Complainant was then advised that he would have to choose if he wanted to be legally represented or represented by the Union. The Complainant ultimately decided to be represented by the Union but it had taken some weeks for the Complainant to make this decision. It came to the attention of the Union after an audit of cases that the Complainant had yet to receive any notice of hearing date from the WRC. Upon making contact with the WRC on 10th November 2016 the official learned that no Complaint Form had been submitted on behalf of the Complainant and therefore submitted a Form on that same date.

The Respondent summited that there was a clear failure on the part of both the Complainant’s Solicitor and his Union Official to ensure that the claim was referred prior to the six-month deadline for doing so and to ensure that the claim had been lodged within that period. The Respondent relied on the following passage from paragraph 25.1 of Redmond on Dismissal Law (3rd Ed., 2018),“The case law consistently reveals that inadvertence on the part of a firm of Solicitors will not be accepted as excusing delay”. The Court determined that the Complainants explanation for not referring his complaint until some eight months after the date of his dismissal does not satisfy the test of reasonable cause as it has been interpreted and applied by the Labour Court following its determination in Cementation Skanska v Carroll, (DWT0338) and therefore determined that it could not excuse the delay beyond the six-month time limit.

Read full case.

31st May 2018

Anne O’Connell
Solicitors
1-3 Burton Hall Road
Sandyford
Dublin 18

www.aocsolicitors.ie

Related Articles