A Respondent (Represented by Chief State Solicitors Office) v an Appellant

 
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Labour Court (Ireland)

ADE/17/62

DETERMINATION NO. EDA188

ADJ-00005143 CA-00005086-001

PARTIES:
A Respondent (Represented by Chief State Solicitors Office)
and
An Appellant
SUBJECT:
1

1. Appeal of Adjudication Officer's Decision No: ADJ-00005143.

BACKGROUND:
2

2. The Worker appealed the decision of the Adjudication Officer to the Labour Court on 18th July 2017, in accordance with Section 83(1) of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 to 2011. A Labour Court hearing took place on 11th January, 2018. The following is the Determination of the Court:

DETERMINATION:
Background
3

This matter comes before the Court as an appeal by the Appellant of the decision of an Adjudication Officer in her complaint that the Respondent discriminated against her on grounds of disability. The Adjudication Officer, in a decision dated 14 th June 2017, found that the complaint was out of time.

4

The Court decided to deal with the issue of the time limits provided for in the Act at Section 77 as a preliminary matter in this appeal. That decision of the Court was made in view of the fact that any decision of the Court on that matter could be determinative of the entire case.

Position of the Appellant.
5

The Appellant, a teacher, submitted that she had been removed from office by decision of the Minister for Education and Skills dated 15 th June 2015. She submitted that her failure to appeal that decision until 9 th June 2016 was a result of psychotic illness which rendered her incapable of making a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission within the time limit set out in the Acts.

6

The Appellant contended that because her removal from office continues she continues to suffer discrimination on grounds of her disability.

Evidence on behalf of the Appellant
7

Evidence on behalf of the appellant was given by her sister.

8

The witness stated that she accompanied the Appellant to a meeting with a member of DailEireann in autumn 2015. She stated that the Appellant was asked by the member of DailEireann to gather some information. The witness stated that in subsequent phone calls to the Appellant she felt that the Appellant was not able to gather that information and sounded like she was not well. She stated that she was concerned about her. She stated that she believed that the Appellant was not taking her medication in autumn 2015. The witness stated that she did not know if the Appellant was in employment in Autumn 2015.

Position of the Respondent.
9

The Respondent submitted that the fact of having a psychotic illness cannot, on its own, be accepted as a reasonable cause for a failure to make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission within the time limits provided in the Acts. The Respondent submitted that a handwritten note from the outpatient department which the Appellant attended dated 6 th August 2015 stated ‘ nil complaints today in terms of mental state’ and ‘ nil psychotic features’. The Respondent submitted that a further note dated 15 th October 2015 noted ‘ nil psychotic features’ and that she had settled into the new job....

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