EMPLOYMENT APPEALS TRIBUNAL
against the recommendation of the Rights Commissioner in the case of:
Sligo Leader Partnership Co. Limited
UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACTS 1977 TO 2007
I certify that the Tribunal
(Division of Tribunal)
Chairman: Mr. M. Gilvarry
Members: Mr. D. Morrison
Mr. T.J. Gill
heard this appeal at Sligo on 25February 2016
Appellant: Ms. Anne Hickey, Solicitor, Wine Street, Sligo
Respondent: Peninsula Business Services (Ireland) Ltd., Unit 3, Ground Floor, Block S, East Point Business Park, Dublin 3
This appeal came before the Tribunal by way of the employee appealing against a Rights Commissioner Decision, ref: r-141684-ud-14.
The determination of the Tribunal was as follows:-
The appellant was employed as a Project Coordinator for the respondent company for a period of over fourteen years. The appellant’s employment was terminated by reason of redundancy on the 31st March 2013.
A claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2007 was lodged with the Workplace Relations Commission on the 23rd January 2014. Some 10 months and 23 days after the date of dismissal. The time limit for lodging a claim under the Act is six-months. However, this time limit can be extended to twelve months if the appellant can show exceptional circumstances as to why they had not lodged their claim within the six-month time limit.
The claim under the Act was heard by the Rights Commissioner on the 12th June 2014 and a decision was issued on the 9th September 2014. The Rights Commissioner found the claimant did not establish exceptional circumstances, as stated in the Act, to extend the time limit under which a claim can be lodged under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2007 and therefore had no jurisdiction to hear the substantive matter.
The claimant lodged an application to appeal the Rights Commissioner’s Decision to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
The representative for the respondent raised a preliminary issue in respect of the time limit to lodge a claim under the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977 to 2007 and gave a detailed history of the circumstances of the case. The representative for the respondent also quoted numerous pieces of case law.
The Tribunal heard sworn evidence from the appellant in respect of the exceptional circumstances as to why she had not lodged her claim within the six-month time limit as set out in the Act.
The Tribunal have carefully considered the sworn evidence and legal submissions adduced in this matter. Section 8 (2) of the 1977 Act as amended by Section 7 (2) of the 1993 Unfair Dismissals Act states:
“7. Section 8 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by_
2) A claim for redress under this Act shall be initiated by giving a notice in
writing (containing such particulars (if any) as may be specified in
regulations under section 17 of this Act made for the purpose of subsection
(8) of this section) to a rights commissioner or the Tribunal, as the case may
(a) Within the period of 6 months beginning on the date of relevant dismissal, or
(b) If the rights commissioners or the Tribunal, as the case may be, is satisfied that exceptional circumstances prevented the giving of the notice within the period aforesaid, then, within such period not exceeding 12 months from the date aforesaid as the rights commissioner of the Tribunal, as the case may be, considers reasonable,”
The Tribunal are bound by this Act and have no discretion in the matter. The Tribunal must be satisfied exceptional circumstances existed to prevent the appellant from lodging her claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2007 within the six-month time limit.
The Tribunal finds the evidence adduced by the appellant was frank and very honest and although the Tribunal do have sympathy for the appellant, it finds no exceptional circumstances prevented her from lodging her claim within the time limit.
Accordingly, the Tribunal upholds the decision of the Rights Commissioner and finds it has no jurisdiction to extend the time limit as set out under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2007.
Sealed with the Seal of the
Employment Appeals Tribunal