If you are dismissed from your employment, you may under certain conditions bring a claim for unfair dismissal against your employer. The Unfair Dismissals Laws in Ireland do not actually protect you from dismissal, rather they provide a system whereby you can question the fairness of your dismissal after it has occurred. A dismissal is considered to be automatically unfair if you as employee have been dismissed for being a member of a trade union or engaging in trade union activities, for religious or political opinions, for race, colour or sexual orientation, for any matters connected with pregnancy or birth or where you have been unfairly selected for redundancy.
If you are dismissed in questionable circumstances, you may ask your employer for a written statement of the reasons for your dismissal and your employer should provide this within fourteen days of your request. If you are found to have been unfairly dismissed, you may be placed back in your job or more commonly you may receive compensation for the loss of earnings caused by the dismissal.
Redundancy on the other hand is deemed to be a fair ground for dismissal. Redundancy generally occurs where you loose your job due to circumstances such as a closure of the business or a reduction in the number of staff. The reason could be the financial position of the firm for whom you work, lack of work or re-organisation within the company or indeed it may be closing down completely. Redundancy provides a minimum entitlement to redundancy payment for employees with a set period of service with the employer. Not all employees are entitled to this statutory redundancy payment even where a redundancy situation exists. However, you and your employer may agree a redundancy payment above the statutory minimum and in such circumstances, employees who have not reached the statutory minimum period of service may also receive a payment. If you consider that you were unfairly selected for redundancy or consider that a genuine redundancy situation did not exist then you may qualify to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. Unless your employer can prove that there was a genuine redundancy situation and that fair procedures were followed, your dismissal may be found to be unfair. If you make a claim for unfair dismissal, you cannot also claim redundancy.
Hassett Considine Solicitors have advised clients in relation to all aspects of Employment Law and if you feel that you have been unfairly treated by an employer, then please feel free to contact our employment specialist, Mr. Daragh Hassett, to arrange a consultation.