Head of Employment and Corporate Immigration | Legal
Head of Employment and Corporate Immigration
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The Workplace Relations Commission (the Irish employment law tribunal) (the “WRC”) has recently published its 2022 Annual Report.
In 2022, 1,546 cases were selected for mediation, 658 of these cases progressed to full mediation where both parties agreed to participate. This represents an increase in participation by 31% compared to 2021 and the number of cases resolved by mediation also increased by 30%.
261 of these mediations were carried out via telephone (a 25% decrease compared to 2021). Face to face medications increased by 263% in 2022. The number of resolved face to face mediation also increased by 276%.
6,263 complaint applications encompassing 12,790 individual complaints were received by the WRC in 2022, a decrease of 4.5% and 6.5% respectively compared to 2021. The main types of complaints were as follows:
The WRC conducts hearings "in person" and "remotely" with an average of 70% being "in-person" and 30% conducted remotely. Hearings scheduled or offered to parties increased by 22% compared to 2021. In this regard, 7,542 complaints were offered a hearing in 2022 which equates to an average of 150 hearings per week. Of this total, 22% of the complaints were postponed and a further 17% were withdrawn prior to the hearing date.
A total of 4,253 hearings were held in 2022. This is an increase of 28% of the 3,320 hearings held in 2021. Other than multiple cases or complaints which cannot be progressed pending clarification of a particular point of law in the Courts, all complaints received prior to 2022 have been scheduled or heard whilst some 20% of complaints were closed by year end.
Following the judgement of the Supreme Court in Zalewski v. the WRC, an Adjudication Officer, Ireland and the Attorney General (2021) hearings are being held for longer than anticipated given the requirement for the affirmation of evidence on oath, cross-examination and adjournments. This impacts the availability of adjudication officers across any given hearing days in regards to the number of hearings that can be completed/disposed of per day.
A total of almost 2,000 decisions were issued in 2022, which is an increase of 27% compared to 2021.
In 2022, the WRC was notified of 310 Labour Court decisions in relation to appeals from the WRC. Of the decisions made, 166 were upheld, 70 varied, 68 were overturned and 6 failed.
The WRC carried out 3,943 inspections in 2022, involving 5,820 individual workplace inspection visits. During the course of these inspections, 5,700 specific contraventions of legislation were detected,
There were a number of notable decisions in 2022, for example Allesandra Quinn v. Embassy of Brazil  which was a case taken under the Unfair Dismissal Act, 1997. This case demonstrated that employers must prove that they followed fair and proper procedures before terminating an employee's employment. There was a near absence of procedures in this case and the dismissal was therefore deemed to be unfair.
Another decision of note is Sarah Sheehan v. Redundancy and Insolvency Payments Section  which was a case taken under the Redundancy Payment Acts, 1967 – 2022 (the "Redundancy Acts"). The issue in this case was whether a period of lay-off was to be included in the calculation of how many weeks continuous employment the employee had.
The Adjudication Officer accepted that in calculating the amount of lump sum redundancy payment to which the employee is entitled, the employee's "reckonable service" must be determined in accordance with the Redundancy Acts.
The Adjudication Officer also accepted that an absence from work by reason of lay-off cannot constitute "reckonable service." However, it was held that the employer was conflating "reckonable service" and "continuity of service." "Reckonable service" should only be a factor in calculating the amount of any award.
Section 7 of the Redundancy Acts which sets out the right to a redundancy payment does not contain any reference to "reckonable service."
"Continuous service" is referenced in the Redundancy Acts and, as such, it was held that lay-off does not break this continuity.
The full WRC report can be viewed here
Please contact Bláthnaid Evans (email@example.com) and/or Amy McNicholas (firstname.lastname@example.org) of our Employment & Corporate Immigration team should you require any employment law advice.
 ADJ-00035802, 2022
 ADJ-00031194, 2022
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