A 19 year old farm assistant has been dismissed after starting a fire in the milk sheds. The employee admitted to his employer’s insurance company that he had been smoking.

The Employment Relations Authority granted the employee’s application for leave to raise his personal grievance, for unjustified dismissal, outside of the 90 day statutory timeframe.

Luckily for the employee in this case the delay in raising a PG was not caused by the employee. The ERA held that the employee’s delay in raising the personal grievance was occasioned by exceptional circumstances. The employee had instructed his solicitor to raise a personal grievance within 90 days but she had unreasonably failed to do so. The solicitor was delayed because of her request for further information from the insurance company and police. The ERA stated that despite the necessity of this information, she did not fulfill her obligations to the employee by raising his personal grievance on the facts already known to her within the 90 days.

The ERA considered that it was just to grant the employee’s application to raise a PG after 90 days as the delays in raising the personal grievance were not significant, and no disadvantage would befall his employer by raising the personal grievance out of time.