Signing Employment Documentation
This issue arose in case ADJ-00025505.
The Adjudication Officer helpfully set out the case of National University of Ireland Maynooth -v- Doctor Ann Buckley FTD092 being a case where the Complainant alleged that she did not understand what she was signing. The Labour Court in that case stated:
‘’ She did not understand what she was signing but was afraid that if she did not do so the Respondent might refuse to host the research project. The Court cannot accept this. The sections are plainly expressed, and it was made clear that further fixed term work, rather than a contract of indefinite duration, was being offered. These were the stated reasons why. She did not consult her Union, nor did she take legal advice. If she was in any doubt what the clause meant and especially as it concerned her future employment then the logical course of action was surely to seek such advice before signing the form. She then saw the clause encapsulated into a binding contract, which she also signed three weeks later, again apparently without taking advice…. The Court is of the view that the Claimant, having signed a binding contract agreeing to the objective reasons for its renewal on a fixed term basis, cannot subsequently resile from this position and is therefore not entitled to a contract of indefinite duration’’.
It is helpful that the Adjudication Officer has set this out. This issue often arises in many cases that an employee will say that they did not understand the document that they wee signing. If somebody does not understand the document that they are being asked to sign then in those circumstances they should not sign before obtaining appropriate advice.
*Before acting or refraining from acting on anything in this guide, legal advice should be sought from a solicitor.
**In contentious cases, a solicitor may not charge fees or expenses as a portion or percentage of any award of settlement.