The Employment Relations Authority has recently decided that an employee raised his personal grievance of unjustified dismissal within the necessary time frame. It was therefore able to consider the personal grievance.

In July 2022, some months into the employee’s work with the employer, the employer became aware that the employee faced prior proceedings with the Employment Relations Authority. These proceedings were not disclosed to the employer when the employee applied for the job.

The employer undertook an investigation into the proceedings, concluding that the employee should be dismissed immediately for serious misconduct. The employment ended on 2 August 2022.

The employee raised a personal grievance of unjustified dismissal with the Authority, but the employer claimed that it was made outside the 90-day time limit for raising a grievance.

The Authority had to determine whether the employee had raised the grievance in time, and therefore whether it could consider the claim.

A claim of unjustified dismissal can be raised orally or in writing, and it is an informal process.

It is not necessary for an employee to say they are raising a personal grievance in order to raise one. Rather, the substance of the grievance must be clear and communicated to the employer.

In this case the employee first raised concerns with the employer on 29 July, stating that he took issue with a meeting that had occurred regarding his behaviour. The employee alleged that there had been a breach of good faith on the employer’s part.

This issue was raised again by the employee on 1 August, after a finding of serious misconduct was made. The employee also raised issues relating to the employer’s procedural and disciplinary process. On 2 August, the employee stated that he would be “raising the matter further in due course”.

The employee made clear on 4 August that he would be lodging an application for unfair dismissal.

The Authority decided that up until 4 August the employee had not raised a personal grievance.

The substance of the employee’s concerns were not sufficiently raised, and the emails therefore could not be considered the raising of a personal grievance. Further, the email sent on 2 August was merely a “future intention” to raise a personal grievance.

However, the Authority considered that the email sent on 4 August sufficiently raised a personal grievance of unjustified dismissal. Despite the employee’s intention to lodge the grievance being a future one, the email showed that the employee believed a grievance had been raised with the employer.

The Authority decided that the employee had raised a personal grievance and taken reasonable steps to notify the employer of issues that he wished to be addressed, including that he believed he had been unfairly dismissed. The Authority therefore agreed to determine the personal grievance in a later hearing.

It is important to be aware of the process for raising a personal grievance. If you are confused about this process, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


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Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors