Case Number: ADJ-00006059. Workplace Relations Commission

CourtWorkplace Relations Commission
Docket NumberADJ-00006059
Date14 July 2021
Hearing Date11 September 2019
RespondentAldi Stores (Ireland) Limited

Adjudication Reference: ADJ-00006059





Georgina Violett

Aldi Stores (Ireland) Limited


Gerald Meagher Midland Legal Solicitors

Kiwana Ennis, BL instructed by Vincent & Beatty



Complaint/Dispute Reference No.

Date of Receipt

Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977



Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 7 of the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994



Complaint seeking adjudication by the Workplace Relations Commission under section 77 of the Employment Equality Act, 1998



Date of Adjudication Hearing: 11/09/2019 and 13/04/2021

Workplace Relations Commission Adjudication Officer: Gaye Cunningham


In accordance with Section 41 of the Workplace Relations Act, 2015 andSection 8 of the UnfairDismissals Acts, 1977 - 2015, Section 7 of the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 and Section 79 of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 – 2015 following the referral of the complaints to me by the Director General, I inquired into the complaints and gave the parties an opportunity to be heard by me and to present to me any evidence relevant to the complaints.


The Complainant was employed by the Respondent from 10th June 2013 to 28th May 2016. She resigned her employment stating at the time that, as it was not possible to satisfactorily resolve her difficulties with the employer, she had no option but to resign. The Complainant also contends that she was discriminated against on grounds of race and gender and that she was harassed and sexually harassed during the period of her employment. Further, the Complainant contends that the Respondent breached the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 in not notifying her in writing of a change in conditions of employment, when she was required to report for duty fifteen minutes before shift start times.

Summary of Complainant’s Case:

The Complainant commenced employment with the Respondent Company on 10th June 2013. She continued in employment up to 28th May 2016. Her last day of work in the Store was 14th May 2016 (per her representative’s submission) when, it is submitted, she was obliged to hand in her notice. Her employment ceased with the Respondent on 28th May 2016. In or about 22nd March 2016, the Complainant submitted a formal letter of grievance against the Manager of the Store. This was sent to the Head Office, who sent it to the Area Manager. The Complainant was contacted by the Area Manager. She was informed verbally by the Manager that the matters were being investigated and that she would be notified once the investigation was completed and that they would have a further meeting. The Complainant contends that as she was never informed of the outcome of the investigation she understood that it was ongoing and continuing. Shortly after she left the Company she became aware that the investigation into the behaviour of the Store Manager had been broadened as a result of a number of similar complaints made by other employees at the store against the same manager. This enlarged investigation led to the suspension of the Store Manager while the investigation was ongoing. It was the Complainant’s understanding the investigation into her complaints would take time and she assumed that once the Respondent had completed the investigation they would put forward redress proposals in the context of the complaint. During the months that followed, the Respondent undertook a comprehensive and wide ranging investigation into the Store Manager. The Complainant was not informed of the outcome of the investigation on foot of her complaint. Due to the failure by the employer to complete its investigation and to communicate the findings of the investigation to the Complainant, it became apparent with the passage of time that the grievance procedure being adopted by the Respondent employer was unreasonable and unfair and the Complainant was left with no alternative but to file her complaint with the Workplace Relations Commission.

Time Limits

It is submitted that where the Complainant was endeavouring to use the Respondent’s internal grievance procedures to resolve the matters, time cannot be deemed to run against her until such time as she is informed as to the outcome of the investigation, the basis for the findings and the proposals arising therefrom and if she was dissatisfied with that outcome she ought to be advised of her right to an internal appeal. The Complainant learnt in 2017 that the Respondent did eventually complete its investigation and upheld the complaints made against the Store Manager and ultimately led to his dismissal. The outcome of the investigation has never been communicated to the Complainant, despite being requested but no response was forthcoming. It is submitted that the statutory time period of six months for the making of the complaint ought to be deemed to be stayed pending the outcome of the internal investigation.

It can be noted that the Complainant’s contract and the Employee Handbook are silent on the implications and effectiveness of the filing of her internal complaint. This leads to a lack of clarity on the Respondent’s part. The Complainant was entitled to believe that the need to file a complaint to the WRC within a six-month period was stayed pending the outcome of her appeal. It is argued that the Respondent cannot on one hand require an employee to follow the Company’s Grievance Procedure and on the other hand delay the grievance process to such an extent so as to push the employee outside the statutory time period for making a complaint. It is submitted that the instant case is similar to the case of UPC Communications Ireland -v- Employment Appeals Tribunal (Respondent) and Ann Marie Ryan (Notice Party), 2017 IEHC 567. It is submitted that in circumstances where the Respondent had assured the Complainant that her complaint was being investigated as part of the internal grievance procedure...

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