Employment tribunal has waiting list of over a year
EMPLOYEES who claim that they have been unfairly sacked have to wait more than a year for a hearing at the State's chief employment tribunal.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal's report for last year reveals that there is now an average wait of 58 weeks to have a claim heard in Dublin.
The waiting time is only slightly lower -- at 55 weeks -- outside the capital. This is a huge jump from waiting periods in 2008 of just 16 weeks in Dublin and 31 weeks in provincial areas.
The tribunal's report said an "unprecedented growth" in cases arising from the "turbulence in the labour market" had caused its workload to treble in recent years.
The growth in redundancy appeals, in particular, led to a dramatic rise in the waiting period for disgruntled former employees seeking to have their cases heard.
The waiting time rose even though the tribunal processed 6,064 claims in 2010, a 30pc increase over the number it had dealt with the previous year.
The chairman of the tribunal, Kate O'Mahony, said an increase in appeals had "the unfortunate consequence" of increasing the waiting time. She said the tribunal was "actively working" to reduce the delay.
It was focusing on processing claims in areas of high demand and had got through 2,431 redundancy appeals last year, 1,000 more than the previous year, she said.
Ms O'Mahony added: "However, adjudicating on unfair-dismissal cases remains the most complex work carried out by the tribunal in terms of the time spent on hearings and it also involves extra background work in preparing determinations for issue to the parties."
The total number of cases referred to the tribunal reached a high of 9,458 in 2009, which was a trebling of its workload over two years. This dropped slightly to 8,778 last year.
A total of €3.4m was awarded in compensation to employees in cases of unfair dismissal during the year and awards of more than €25,000 were made in 44 cases.
The average award was €16,064.