Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977-1993

Aggrieved employees have a choice of legal remedy:

1. An action for wrongful dismissal in the Civil Courts where breach of contract or breach of constitutional rights is alleged. There is a six year limitation period and damages are unlimited; or

2. A claim within six months, or by extension 12 months, of the date of dismissal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal or Rights Commissioner under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-1993.

Redress for unfair dismissal is based on legislation. The acts apply to employees who:


* Have been dismissed or can prove that the employer's conduct was so unreasonable that resignation was justified

* Have one year's continuous service. This service is not necessary where dismissal is on grounds of pregnancy or trade union activity

* are normally expected to work eight hours or more per week

* are between 16 and 66 years of age

* are employed by or thorough employment agencies or directly by the employer

Presumption of unfair dismissal:

Dismissal is always presumed to be unfair once proven. This means that the onus of proving fairness is on the employer. Certain specific grounds for dismissal are also deemed to be unfair:


* trade union membership/activity

* pregnancy

* exercising statutory maternity rights

* religious or political opinions

* age

* sexual orientation

* membership of the travelling community

* taking legal action against the employer

Grounds substantially justifying dismissal:

* capability, competence or qualification

* conduct

* redundancy provided selection criteria and procedures are fair

* other substantial reasons

* fixed term contracts and fixed purpose contracts (with certain exception).


* reinstatement, or

* re-engagement, or

* compensation to a maximum ceiling of two years' remuneration.

Awards of compensation are based on the actual financial loss of the employee.