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The Difference a Day Makes strict adherence to time limits

Facts
The Complainant was employed as a Sales Manager of the Respondent and commenced employment 18th February 2013. By letter dated 22nd December 2015, the Complainant was issued formal notice that his role would become redundant as and from 4th January 2016. He was placed on “Garden Leave” with the official date of dismissal for redundancy being 4th January 2016. The Complainant submitted that no genuine redundancy situation existed but rather that he was dismissed due to the level of salary commanded by him and that his dismissal was cost related. The Complainant did not submit his claim form to the WRC until 3rd February 2017.

The Respondent raised an objection to the Adjudication Officer’s jurisdiction to inquire into and decide this complaint as it was not referred to the WRC within the time limits prescribed by Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Acts. The date of dismissal was 4th January 2016 but the Complainant argued that he was entitled to receive one month’s notice under the terms of his contract of employment making the effective date of dismissal the 4th February 2017. No such entitlement was established. Furthermore, the Respondent submitted that even if one adds the statutory two weeks’ period of notice that the date of dismissal can be no later than the 18th January 2016.

Conclusion
The Adjudicator found that the Complainant was entitled to the statutory two weeks’ notice period but that these were included during the period of 22nd December 2015 and 4th January 2016. It was held that the Adjudication Officer did not have jurisdiction to hear the complaint as it was made outside the extended period of twelve months allowed for under the Acts.

Additionally, the Adjudicator stated: “In the event that I am found on appeal to have erred in my findings that the date of dismissal was 4th January 2016, I will also address the issue of time limits in circumstances were it to be held that the Complainant was, in fact entitled to one month’s notice expired on 4th February 2016.”

The Adjudicator calculated one month from 4th January to be 3rd of February, and twelve months from this date in which to make the complaint would fall to be 2nd February 2017. The Complainant having submitted his claim to the WRC the on 3rd February 2017 would fall outside the extended period of twelve months by one day. This case demonstrates the importance of submitting a claim within the correct time limits as it could prove fatal to your case in that it is over before even being heard.

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For any queries, please contact Anne O’Connell Solicitors at info@aocsolicitor.ie or +353 1 2903580
27th February 2018

Anne O’Connell
Solicitors
1-3 Burton Hall Road
Sandyford
Dublin 18
www.aocsolicitors.ie

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