Enforcement

Enforcing Decisions I

If a respondent (usually the employer) fails to carry out a decision of an Adjudication Officer of the Workplace Relations Commission, or a decision of the Labour Court arising from an appeal of an Adjudication Officer’s decision, within the prescribed time, an application may be made to the District Court for an order directing the Employer to carry out the decision. The application can be made by the following:

The application may be made by the employee/complainant (or legal representative on their behalf) a trade union, with the consent of the employee, or an excepted body of which the employee/complainant is a member. It is most commonly taken by the WRC itself.

The Workplace Relations Commission has discretion, having regard to resources, capacity available, cost and the particular circumstances of a case, to accept a request to make an application to the District Court on behalf of the Employee/Complainant. In exercising that discretion regard is had to the matters set out in the criteria for enforcement set out below.


Enforcing Decisions II

If the decision is not appealed and is not implemented after 56 days, a trade union, excepted body or the WRC (in certain cases) may apply to the District Court for an order directing the employer to comply.

There is a similar mechanism for enforcement of decisions of the Labour Court.  If the decision is not implemented within 42 days, a trade Union, excepted body or the WRC, in certain cases may apply to the District Court for an order directing the employer to comply with the decision.

The enforcement of complaints or disputes presented or referred to a Rights Commissioner, the Employment Appeals Tribunal or the Equality Tribunal before 1st October, 2015 are governed by the law which existed before the commencement of the Workplace Relations Act 2015.


Application to District Court to Enforce

In the case of an Adjudication Officer’s decision, the application to the District Court can be made after a period of 56 days has elapsed from the date the decision was issued to the parties. A period of 42 days must have elapsed from the date the decision was issued to the parties before the application can be made in respect of that decision.

The application must be made to a judge of the District Court in which the Employer/Respondent concerned ordinarily resides. If an employer in proceedings in relation to a complaint or dispute referred to an adjudication officer fails to carry out the decision of the adjudication officer in accordance with its terms before the expiration of 56 days from the date on which the notice in writing of the decision was given to the parties, the District Court shall—

  • on application to it in that behalf by the employee concerned or the Commission, or
  • on application to it in that behalf, with the consent of the employee, by any trade union or excepted body of which the employee is a member,
  • without hearing the employer or any evidence (other than in relation to the matters aforesaid)

make an order directing the employer to carry out the decision in accordance with its terms.


Alternative Orders by District Court

Upon the hearing of an application in relation to a decision of an adjudication officer requiring an employer to reinstate or re-engage an employee, the District Court may, instead of making an order directing the employer to carry out the decision in accordance with its terms, make an order directing the employer to pay to the employee compensation of such amount as is just and equitable having regard to all the circumstances but not exceeding 104 weeks’ remuneration in respect of the employee’s employment.

The District Court may, in an order, if in all the circumstances it considers it appropriate to do so, where the order relates to the payment of compensation, direct the employer concerned to pay to the employee concerned interest on the compensation at the Courts Act rate in respect of the whole or any part of the period beginning 42 days after the date on which the decision of the adjudication officer is given to the parties and ending on the date of the order.


Labour Court Decision Enforcement

There is a similar mechanism for enforcement of decisions of the Labour Court.  If the decision is not implemented within 42 days, a trade Union, excepted body or the WRC, in certain cases may apply to the District Court for an order directing the employer to comply with the decision.

If an employer fails to carry out in accordance with its terms a decision of the Labour Court in relation to an appeal before the expiration of 42 days from the date on which notice of the decision is given to the parties, the District Court shall—

  • on application to it in that behalf by the employee concerned or the Commission, or
  • on application to it in that behalf, with the consent of the employee, by any trade union or excepted body of which the complainant is a member,
  • without hearing the employer or any evidence (other than in relation to the matters aforesaid)

make an order directing the employer to carry out the decision in accordance with its terms.

The District Court may, in an order, if in all the circumstances it considers it appropriate to do so, where the order relates to the payment of compensation, direct the employer concerned to pay to the employee concerned interest on the compensation at the Courts Act rate, in respect of the whole or any part of the period beginning 42 days after the date on which the decision of the Labour Court is communicated to the parties and ending on the date of the order.


Offence to fail or refuse to pay compensation

It  is  an offence for a person to fail to comply with an order directing an employer to pay compensation to an employee.

It is a defence to proceedings for an offence for the defendant to prove on the balance of probabilities that he or she was unable to comply with the order due to his or her financial circumstances.

A person guilty of an offence shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.


Enforcement by the WRC

In certain circumstances, the Workplace Relations Commission has discretion, having regard to resources, capacity available, cost and the particular circumstances of a case, as to whether it can accept a request to make an application to the District Court on behalf of the complainant.

In exercising that discretion regard is had to the matters set out below. If the complainant or someone on his behalf has already made an application to the Courts in this matter, the WRC cannot accept a request to make such an application in the same matter.

The enforcement of a decision under the Workplace Relations Act 2015 requires an application to be made to the District Court for an order.  Failure to comply with such order is a criminal offence.


Factors in WRC Enforcing

The Commission in exercising its discretion whether or not to accept a request will have regard to the following:

  • The cost of court proceedings (including possible prosecution) having regard to the level of the award and the resources and capacity available to the Commission; in general, an application will not be made respect of an award which is less than €2,500, as the cost of enforcing could exceed the value of the award.
  • In any case where the applicant availed of representation in the course of the hearing(s).  In such circumstances, it would be an inappropriate use of resources for the Commission to take over the case at the enforcement stage.
  • In any other case, where the requestor, having regard to all the circumstances, is considered to be in a position to pursue the matter him/herself or by alternative means prescribed in the Act.
  • The legal, financial and or trading position of the employer and any evidence provided in this regard.
  • The efforts made by the requestor to secure payment from the employer.
  • Whether employer has accepted  liability for the award,
  • The extent of employer’s co-operation in seeking to discharge the debt.  Regard will be had to whether the employer has made reasonable efforts to resolve the matter
  • Any other circumstances pertaining where the Commission considers it  inappropriate that the resources and capacity available should be used in a particular case

Appeal to High Court on point of law

A party to proceedings before the Labour Court under this Part may, not later than 42 days from the service on that party of notice of the decision of the Labour Court in those proceedings, appeal that decision to the High Court on a point of law, and the decision of the High Court in relation thereto shall be final and conclusive.


References and Sources

Primary References

Employment Law  Meenan  2014 Ch. 24

Employment Law Supplement Meenan 2016 Ch.24A

Employment Law Regan & Murphy  2009  Ch.22 ( 2nd Ed 2017)

Employment Law in Ireland Cox & Ryan 2009 Ch.2

Dismissal Law in Ireland  Redmond 2007 Ch.10

Other Irish Books

Employment Law Forde & Byrne 2009

Principles of Irish Employment Law   Daly & Doherty           2010

Acts

Workplace Relations Act 2015 (No.16)

Industrial Relations Act 1946 (No. 26)

Industrial Relations Act 1969 (No. 14)

Industrial Relations Act 1976 (No. 15)

Industrial Relations Act 1990 (No. 19)

Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2001 (No. 11)

Industrial Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 (No. 4)

Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2012 (No. 32)

Periodicals and Reports

Employment Law Yearbook (annual) Arthur Cox

Employment Law Reports

Irish Employment Law Journal

Employment Law Review

Legislative Guides

Dismissal & Redundancy Consolidated Legislation   Barrett, G        2007

Irish Employment legislation (Looseleaf)       Kerr     1999-

Employment Rights Legislation (IEL offprint) Kerr     2006

Dismissal & Redundancy Consolidated Legislation             Barrett, G            2007

Principles of Irish Employment Law          Daly & Doherty 2010

Termination & Redundancy, What is the law?      Hayes, Barry & O’Mara   2005

Termination of Employment Statutes (IEL)            Kerr       2016

Termination of Employment: Practical Guide for Employers          Purdy    2011

Shorter Guides

Employment Law Nutshell      Donovan, D     2016

Employees: Know Your Rights           Eardly  2008

Essentials of Irish Labour Law           Faulkner          2013

Websites

Workplace Relations Commission http://www.lrc.ie/en/

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission https://www.ihrec.ie/

Health and Safety Authority http://www.hsa.ie/eng/

UK Texts

Textbook on Employment Law, Honeyball, et al. 13th Ed. 2014

Labour Law, Deakin and Morris 5th Ed. 2012

Employment Law, Smith and Wood 13th Ed 2017

Selwyn’s law of Employment Emir A 19 Ed. 2016

Employment law : the essentials. Lewis D Sargeant M and Schwab M 11 Ed.2011

Labour Law Collins H, Ewing K D and McColgan  2012

Industrial relations law reports. (IRLR): Law Section,

Employment law Benny R Jefferson M and Sargent  5th Ed.  2012

Pitt’s Employment Law 10th  Ed. Gwyneth Pitt 2016

CLP Legal Practice Guides: Employment Law 2016 Gillian Phillips, Karen Scott

Cases and Materials on Employment Law 10th  Ed. Richard Painter, Ann E. M. Holmes 2015

Blackstone’s Statutes on Employment Law 2015 – 2016 Richard Kidner

UK Practitioner Services

Tolley’s Employment Handbook 2017 Mrs Justice Slade 2017

Butterworths Employment Law Handbook 2017 Peter Wallington 2017

Blackstone’s Employment Law Practice 2017 Edited by Gavin Mansfield, John Bowers, John Macmillan 2017

UK Periodicals and Reports

The Employment Law Review 8th  Ed.   Erika C. Collins 2017

Industrial Relations Law Reports

Employment Law in Context: Text and Materials 2nd  Ed. David Cabrelli 2016