The Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 provide protection for employees from being unfairly dismissed from their jobs by laying down criteria by which dismissals are judged to be unfair and by providing an adjudication system and redress for an employee whose dismissal has been found to be unjustified.
The Acts apply to employees who (with certain exceptions), have had at least a year’s continuous service with the same employer.
Employers are required by section 14(1) of the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007 to give a notice in writing to each employee setting out the procedure which the employer will observe before, and for the purpose of, dismissing the employee. This must be given not later than 28 days after entering into a contract of employment.
Grounds for Dismissal
The Acts provide that every dismissal of an employee will be presumed to have been unfair unless the employer can show substantial grounds justifying the dismissal. In order to justify a dismissal, an employer must show that it resulted wholly or mainly from one or more of the following causes:
or that there were other substantial grounds for dismissal.
The Unfair Dismissals Acts provide for a right of complaint to the WRC where employees consider that they have been unfairly dismissed.
Employees who consider they have been unfairly dismissed but who do not qualify under the Unfair Dismissals Acts for certain reasons (e.g. have less than a year’s continuous service) may, in most cases, refer the matter to the Workplace Relations Commission for adjudication under the Industrial Relations Act 1969. Referrals may also be made to the Commission in the case of dismissals connected with any of the nine discriminatory grounds prescribed by the Employment Equality Acts, 1998-2015