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The objective at all times should be to resolve workplace relations disputes at a local level by means of constructive dialogue and engagement between the parties. Where this is not possible or appropriate the dispute may be referred to the State's Workplace Relations Services.

Disputes or complaints are generally categorised under two headings:

a) Disputes/Complaints relating to statutory rights (e.g. minimum pay, terms, hours of work, rest breaks, redundancy entitlements, payment of wages, etc.). These are generally addressed by means of adjudication by a Rights Commissioner, the Employment Appeals Tribunal, an Equality Officer or the Labour Court or by means of inspection depending on the legislation involved,

b) Disputes/complaints which arise out of conflicting interests. These are generally addressed by the State's Conciliation and Mediation Services and, in certain circumstances, by the Labour Court.

The following services are currently provided by the State to resolve disputes of right and disputes of interest:-

ServiceType of DisputeDetails
Employment Rights Issues
AdjudicationComplaint in relation to employment rights (hours of work, leave, pay, unfair dismissal, terms of employment, etc) or equalityThe matter will be dealt with by means of an adjudication hearing and decision. Depending on the legislation involved the complaint may be dealt with by a Rights Commissioner, Equality Officer, the Labour Court or the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
InspectionComplaint in relation to employment rightsThe complaint will be dealt with by means of an inspection. Where contraventions are detected, the employer will be requested to rectify the contraventions and, where relevant, pay any associated unpaid wages.
Early ResolutionComplaints in relation to employment rightsA Case Resolution Officer (CRO) of the Workplace Relations Early Resolution service may contact the parties to employment rights complaints to offer assistance in resolving complaints without the need for an adjudication hearing or an inspection. Mediation is offered by Equality Officers in the case of all equality/discrimination disputes.
Industrial Relations/Interest-based Issues
InvestigationIndustrial Relations/Trade DisputesA Rights Commissioner or the Labour Court may investigate a trade dispute.
ConciliationIndustrial relationsA Conciliation Officer or Industrial Relations Officer will be made available to steer discussions between the parties and explore possible avenues of settlement. This is a voluntary process.
Workplace MediationEmployment Equality/Discrimination, workplace conflicts, grievance and disciplinary issues, industrial relations issues, etc.Mediation seeks to arrive at a solution through an agreement between the parties, rather than through an investigation or hearing or formal decision. Mediation is undertaken by the Workplace Mediation Service in the case of workplace conflicts, breakdowns in working relationships, issues arising under grievances and disciplinary procedures and certain industrial relations issues.
FacilitationIssues involving changes in the workplaceAn officer will be appointed to chair and facilitate discussions in relation to challenges facing the workplace.

You may also wish to click on the following links in our Codes of Practice section relating to