Following the recent High Court Case new proposals in relation to JLC/REA's have been made by the government:
24-Nov-10 at 18.17 | Resolve HR Admin
Following today's decision to reduce the Minimum Wage rate to €7.65. The Government has signalled that the ERO and REA rates should be reviewed. In particular the Catering,...

Rights Commissioner Hearing

What are Rights Commissioners?

Rights Commissioners operate as a service of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) however they operate independently in the performance of their duties. Rights Commissioners investigate disputes, grievances and claims on behalf of individuals or small groups of workers. Rights Commissioners issue the findings of their investigations in the form of either decisions or non-binding recommendations, depending on the legislation under which a case is referred. A full outline of the applicable legislation is at the bottom of the page.

 

How are issues referred to the Rights Commissioner?

Employees with a complaint should first notify their employer of the complaint and that they are referring the issue to the LRC so that efforts can be made to settle the matter locally. However in our experience more and more employees are referring cases to the LRC without informing their employer. The first notification an employer gets that a third party is getting involved is when they receive a letter from the LRC, which often comes as a big shock.

 

What happens at a Rights Commissioner hearing?

Having received a complaint, the LRC will contact the employer and then schedule a hearing. Depending on the region and the waiting list it could take 2-3 months for a case to be heard. Hearings before a Rights Commissioner take place in private, usually in a hotel meeting room. The only exception to this is disputes referred under the Payment of Wages Act, 1991. These hearings may be held in public. Hearings are conducted formally but are not adversarial, in other words it's not a courtroom, witnesses do not give sworn evidence. You are not permitted to use mobile phones, tape recorders, cameras or any other recording equipment at a Rights Commissioner hearing.

 

Both parties are given the chance to fully present their case. The Rights Commissioner's role is to issue a decision or recommendations based on the facts and on the evidence presented at a hearing. As a result it is very important that when preparing for a hearing all the relevant information and documentation (e.g. witnesses, payslips, correspondence,) are fully reviewed and available for the hearing. You don't need to make a written submission, but at Resolve HR we find that they are  very helpful as they keep participants focused on the core issues rather then personal issues. They also allow the Rights Commissioners to have a record of the statements made at the hearing to utilise when formulating his/her recommendation or decision.

 

It is up to you to decide if you want to be represented at the hearing as it is possible to represent yourself at a hearing. However in a lot of instances we find that people are not used to attending these types of formal hearings and benefit greatly from the advice and representation we provide here at Resolve HR. Particularly when it comes to preparing the case, presenting it on the day of the hearing and achieving the desired outcome.

 

What are the outcomes of a Rights Commissioner hearing?

In some cases settlements are reached on the day of a hearing, with the assistance of the Rights Commissioner, often as a "least worst option". In most cases, the Rights Commissioner will take some time to consider the facts presented and to prepare a report detailing his/her findings and recommendation/decision. Rights Commissioner's recommendation or decisions can be appealed to the Labour Court or the Employment Appeals Tribunal depending on the legislation.

 

Legislation heard by Rights Commissioners:

1. Adoptive Leave Acts, 1995-2005
2. Carers Leave Act, 2001
3. Competition Acts, 2002-2006

4. Employees (Information & Consultation) Act, 2006

5. Employment Permits Act, 2006

6. Industrial Relations Acts, 1969-1990
7. Industrial Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004
8. Maternity Protection Acts, 1994-2004
9. National Minimum Wage Act, 2000
10. Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997
11. Parental Leave Act, 1998
12. Payment of Wages Act, 1991
13. Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act, 2003
14. Protection of Employees (Part - Time Work) Act, 2001
15. Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996
16. Protections for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998
17. Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005
18. Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994
19. Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977-2005

 

Statutory Instruments:

1. European Communities (Protection of Employment) Regulations, 2000
2. European Communities (Safeguarding of Employees Rights on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations, 2003

3. European Communities (European PLC) (Employee Involvement) Regulations, 2006

 

If you have been informed that an issue has been referred to a Rights Commissioner for investigation and you are unsure what to do next click on the following link Representation