Time Limit to Bring a Claim*
This issue arose in ADJ-00020527 concerning the time limit in relation to an Equality case. The complainant in this case had requested that events complained of spanned a considerable period of time. The Adjudication Officer looked at the issue of the time limits. The Adjudication Officer referred to Section 77(5)(a) of the Act and also Section 77(6)(a).
The Adjudication Officer referred to the case of Hurley -v- County Cork VEC, EDA 1124 where the Court stated;
“Under Subsection 6(a) an act will be regarded as extending over a period, and so treated as done at the end of that period, if the employer maintains and keeps in force a discriminatory regime, rule, practice, or, principle which had a clear and adverse effect on the complainant (Barclay Bank PLC -V- Kapur 1989 ILRM387). This Subsection would apply, where, for example, an employer pursues a policy or practice of not affording certain benefits to employees who brought Equality claims. In such cases the time limit will only run from the time the policy or practice is discontinued…”
The Adjudication Officer pointed out that the Labour Court pointed to authority in an English and Wales Court of Appeal of Robertson -v- Bexley Community Centre 2003 IRLR 434, that an act “Occurring after the presentation of the complaint’s complaint” may not be taken into account when considering if a continuum existed.
The Adjudication Officer pointed out that the Labour Court went on to adopt the reasoning in another Court of Appeal case of Arthur -v- London Eastern Railway Limited 2007 IRLR59 where Mummery J held that to consider a compliant of an act as part of a continuum, there must be an act within the statutory limit permitted.
“There must be an act (or failure) within the three-month period (six months in Ireland), but the complaint is not confined to that act (or failure) the last act (or failure) within the three-month period may be treated as part of a series of similar acts (or failures) occurring outside that period. If it is, a complaint about the whole series of similar acts (or failures) will be treated as in time…. it may not be possible within Section 48(4) by reference, for example to a connecting rule, practice, scheme or policy but there may be some link between them which makes it just and reasonable for them to be treated as in time and for the complainant to rely on them”
The Adjudication Officer pointed out the case of A Store -v- A Worker 2016 27ELR250 where the Labour Court adopted the above reasoning and found the acts complained of constituted a continuum.
It is helpful that the Adjudication Officer has set out the law in this area in such detail.
*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 proportion or percentage of any award or settlement.