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Employment Rights

The Labour Court has sole jurisdiction in all disputes arising under employment rights enactments.


In employment rights cases, the worker must first refer their case to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) for adjudication. Where either party is dissatisfied with the decision of the WRC’s Adjudication Officer, that decision can be appealed to the Labour Court.  It is important to note that a case on appeal before the Labour Court is heard afresh in its entirety as though the first instance stage had not occurred. No new claims can be introduced at the appeal stage.

 The Labour Court:

 (a) investigates trade disputes under the Industrial Relations Acts, 1946 to 2015

 (b) investigates, at the request of the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, trade disputes affecting the public interest, or conduct an enquiry into a trade dispute of special importance and report on its findings

 (c) hears appeals of Adjudication Officer’s recommendations/decisions made under the Industrial Relations Acts

 (d) establishes Joint Labour Committees and decide on questions concerning their operation

 (e) registers Joint Industrial Councils

 (f) investigates complaints of breaches of codes of practice made under the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 (following consideration of the complaint by the Workplace Relations Commission)

 (g) gives its opinion as to the interpretation of a code of practice made under the Industrial Relations Act, 1990

 (h) investigates disputes (where negotiating arrangements are not in place) under the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act, 2001 as amended by the Industrial Relations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004 and the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015

 (I) registers employment agreements

 (j) examines the terms and conditions of employment in a sector pursuant to Section 14 of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015

 (k) grants exemptions from the obligation to pay the remuneration that would otherwise be payable under a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) pursuant to Section 21 of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015

Part I, II & III of the Labour Court Rules 2022 relate to the procedure to be used in Employment Rights cases. 

For further information please see the Labour Court User's Guide which should be read in conjunction with the Labour Court Rules 2022

An appeal of an Adjudications Officer’s decision under the various Employment Rights enactments must be made to the Labour Court using the Employment Rights Appeal Form.  (Word Version)  Please see guidance notes here for further information on the use of this form.