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Review of WRC Adjudication Decisions & Recommendations

Published: 20 December 2021

WRC Report – Review of WRC Adjudication Decisions and Recommendations – January to December 2020:
Executive Summary:

This report examines complaints made to the Workplace Relations Commission (“WRC”) from 1 January to 31 December 2020. A total of 1,401 cases encompassing 3,059 complaints were the subject of  published decisions.

While the WRC received some 8,103 cases (encompassing 18,969 specific complaints) in 2020, not all of these reached the adjudication stage –  some were settled or withdrawn, some were referred for mediation, or were stayed pending related decisions in other fora or some were adjourned due to a range of factors.

Thus, this report focuses on the 1,401 cases encompassing 3,059 specific complaints which were subject to decisions published during this period. By the end of 2020 only some 200 decisions await issuing post-hearing — compared with over 600 at the end of 2019. This represents the lowest end-year level of decisions on hand since the establishment of the WRC in 2015.

The information analysed in this report was identified via two main sources: i) the WRC’s website case database; and ii) data collated and analysed by the Legal Division using AI programmed with the legal research software engine “Vizlegal”.

The report is comprised of three chapters and examines complaints made to the WRC as regards: complaint breakdown; party representation; and awards made (both monetary and corrective action). This report is the first of its kind and is considered a trial report to assist in the dissemination of information concerning the work of the WRC.

While considering the report, it should be borne in mind that the findings are high level and do not contain detailed case by case analysis.

It is hoped that, subject to resources available at the time, a similar report may be produced periodically by the WRC.

Key Findings:

Awards Made:

  • A total of €5,152,152.37 was awarded by the WRC in 2020.
  • The overall average award was €5,117.42.
  • There were approximately 181 successful complaints where a non-monetary award was made — in other words, a “Course of Action” was directed or recommended.

Complaint Breakdown:

  • Most complaints were made under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1977, with 577 complaints. This was followed by the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 with 454 complaints; and the Industrial Relations Act 1969 with 354 disputes.

Party Representation:

  • 1,305 parties (47%) had third party representation.
  • 1,255 parties (45%) were self-represented — 716 (57%) complainants and 539 (43%) respondents.