A Trade Union who is conducting a ballot for industrial action must, if there are more than 50 members entitled to vote, appoint a Qualified Independent Person as the scruitneer of the ballot. The Trade Union Elections and Ballots (Independent Scrutineer Qualifications) Order (Northern Ireland) 1992 as amended by the 2003 Order, outlines the individuals and organisations that can act as a QIP. These include practising solicitors, qualified accounts and three organisations, Electoral Reform (Ballot Services) Limited; Popularis Limited; and, Involvement and Participation Association.
The right to lodge a claim for Unfair Dismissal applies to employees who have one complete year’s service at the time of dismissal. Exceptions to this requirement apply where, for example, an individual feels they have been dismissed for asserting a statutory employment right or the decision to dismiss is an act of discrimination.
If a worker or (or applicant for employment) feels that their employer (or potential employer) has discriminated against them on the grounds of, for example, race, sex, religious belief etc, they are entitled to send a written questionnaire to the individual or organisation asking them to explain why they have contravened their rights under the relevant legislation. The response will enable the worker to determine whether there are grounds for a case of discrimination or not. The questionnaire should be sent within three months of the alleged act of discrimination occurring, or within 21 days of a discrimination complaint being lodged at the Industrial Tribunal. An employer is not legally obliged to respond within a set period, though is cautioned that a failure to do so could draw a negative inference by the Industrial Tribunal. The link below provides some FAQ’s from the Equality Commission on the Questionnaire procedure.