Reform of the workplace and employment rights and redress structures
12 Jul 2012
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, is undertaking a reform of the workplace and employment rights and redress structures- including the Equality Tribunal. In April he published his Blueprint document outlining the proposals for reform in this area. Congress submitted views on the Blueprint, including equality related issues, as part of the consultation process.
This week, the Minister has published this week, a Policy Document: Legislating for a World-Class Workplace Relations Service which represents the latest proposals on the proposed structures.
A number of our concerns have been addressed in the latest proposals:
- A proposal to introduce a fee of €50 for those wishing to lodge complaints is now being scrapped. It is proposed, however, that a fee will apply "in relation to appeals to the Labour Court by parties who failed to attend first instance adjudication without good cause".
- It is proposed that the Equality Tribunal inquisitorial type model will apply "in so far as possible", to the hearing of cases.
- It is proposed to build on the mediation model that has been developed by the Equality Tribunal, as a tool for early resolution of cases.
On the issue of where the equal status function of the Equality Tribunal would be located, the latest proposals indicate that the location of the equal status function is still undecided. However, when questioned on this issue at the Oireachtas Committee meeting, Minister Bruton stated that the equal status function (other than those in respect of registered clubs i.e. clubs allowed to serve alcohol at their bars and licensed premises) will be moved to the Work Relations Commission as part of the reform process and that appeals of equal status cases will go to the Circuit Court as pertains currently.
The draft legislation to establish the new structures and procedures will be published shortly.