On 1st July 2011, Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, announced a major reform of the State's employment rights/workplace relations institutions. The overall objective of the reforms is to deliver a world-class workplace relations service and employment rights framework that serves the needs of employers and employees and provides maximum value for money.
As part of the process of reforming Irish Employment Rights and Industrial Relations structures, a new Single Complaint Form has been created, Link to Single Complaint Form replacing many of the forms used by the Employment Appeals Tribunal, Labour Relations Commission, National Employment Rights Authority, Equality Tribunal and Labour Court. This new form should be used for lodging employment-related complaints from 30th December 2011.
A person (the complainant) who feels they have been unlawfully discriminated against is entitled to ask the respondent (the employer against whom the complaint is made) for information which they may need to decide whether to refer the matter to The Equality Tribunal and to help them find out what actually happened. Forms for this purpose are available for download further on on this page.
A reply form allows the respondent to set out their reply but the respondent is not obliged to reply. If the respondent does not reply or if the respondent's information is false or misleading, the Act allows the Tribunal to draw inferences from this, if appropriate, when reaching a Decision.
How is a complaint made?
A complaint must be referred to the Equality Tribunal within 6 months of the incident in question.
What happens if a complaint is not made in time?
If a complaint is not sent to the Equality Tribunal within the required six months, the Director of the Tribunal can be asked to extend the time period to 12 months where there is reasonable cause to do so. The complainant must apply in writing to the Director, setting out why this condition is satisfied.
What happens when a complaint is received?
The complaint form and any other papers which are relevant will be copied by the Tribunal to the respondent (the employer against whom the complaint is made). The complainant may be asked for more details, and any answer received will be copied to the respondent. Any papers received from the respondent will be copied to the complainant.
The case will be referred to mediation unless either party objects. Mediation is where both sides are helped to reach an agreement. An Investigation is where an Equality Officer hears all the evidence and makes a Decision. Both outcomes are legally binding.