An employee may bring a personal grievance against an employer if there has been an unjustified dismissal or disadvantage caused to the employee during the course of their employment.
Unjustified dismissal can occur where an employee:
a) Has been wrongfully dismissed. In other words, the employer has dismissed the employee where there was no legal basis to do so. A minor performance breach of an employment agreement would not be valid grounds for dismissal. A redundancy which is not genuine would be a wrongful dismissal.
b) Has been subject to an unfair process in connection with a dismissal, restructuring or redundancy. For instance, the employee may not have had the opportunity to have sufficient input into the process, or been denied the opportunity to seek advice, receive relevant information or bring a support person with them to any meetings.
Disadvantage as a result of unjustifiable action can arise where there has been some wrongful action undertaken towards an employee during the course of their employment. For example, unjustifiable actions might include:
- commencing a disciplinary process when there is no basis for doing so,
- not following a fair process in a disciplinary investigation, restructuring or redundancy,
- changing hours of work and rate of pay without consultation with an employee.
- an employer failing to comply with legal obligations in connection with employees who are affected by a restructuring or sale of the business.
Successful claims for disadvantage and unjustified dismissal can result in compensation being paid to the employee.