Workplace disputes during COVID-19

Introduction

Under the Workplace Relations Act 2015, the mediation and adjudication services operate as part of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The WRC deals with complaints that are referred to it using:

  • A written procedure
  • Mediation by phone
  • Face-to-face mediation
  • Remote adjudication
  • Face-to face adjudication

Note: Adjudication means an adjudicator is appointed to investigate your complaint fully. They will listen to evidence and then decide how the dispute should be resolved.

If a complaint is submitted for adjudication, the WRC can hear it remotely, unless this would be unfair to the people involved, or contrary to the interests of justice. This came into effect under SI 359/2020.

Keep an eye on the WRC website for regular updates on how they are operating face-to-face hearings and meetings during COVID-19.

You can read more general information about employment rights enforcement in the section of our website covering Enforcement and redress.

Mediation by phone

The Mediation Service is offering mediation in suitable cases, including:

  • Complaints that were received over the past 2 months
  • Parties whose hearings have been postponed as a result of Covid19 or other reasons and are awaiting an alternative hearing date
  • Parties that previously declined the offer of mediation will be offered the option again

Written procedure process

The WRC will review complaints and identify those that are suitable for the written procedure process. Suitable complaints include:

  • Cases not suitable for mediation, or
  • Where mediation is not successful

Parties must agree to dealing with the complaint by written procedure and can object within 42 days of being informed.

The WRC protocol includes detailed guidelines for investigating complaints by written procedure – see Appendix 2 of the Protocol (pdf).

Remote hearings

Complaints submitted to the WRC can now be scheduled for remote adjudication hearings, as long as this is fair to the people involved, and in the interests of justice.

You can get more information on this from workplacerelations.ie.

Face-to-face hearings

The WRC can now schedule all hearings as remote hearings. In some cases, parts of a case may be heard in person, where circumstances allow.

How to make a complaint

You must use the online complaint form available on workplacerelations.ie.

You can read this list of frequently asked questions about making a complaint.

You can apply for mediation using the online mediation referral form available on workplacerelations.ie.

Further information

You can get more general information about employment rights enforcement in the section of our website covering Enforcement and redress.

If you need information about employment law and your employment rights you can contact Workplace Relations Commission's Information and Customer Service.

Page edited: 1 December 2020