We offer a free conciliation service to help parties involved in a workplace dispute to come to a legally binding resolution without needing to go through a tribunal. We offer both individual conciliation and collective conciliation, for example where an issue affects a number of employees.
From 27 January 2020 a change in NI employment law means that anyone wishing to lodge a claim with the Industrial or Fair Employment Tribunal will need to contact us first to discuss the option of 'Early Conciliation'. If agreement is not reached through Early Conciliation parties can still proceed to tribunal if they wish.
The best way to prevent relationship problems is to have policies and procedures that are fair, constructive and clear and there should be constructive communication to address issues as quickly as possible. We can help you to check if your policies and procedures are in line with best practice.
However, where relationships have been damaged by events in the workplace, the Labour Relations Agency can provide impartial and confidential mediation, conciliation or arbitration support to help resolve the situation.
An independent mediator can sometimes help resolve grievance or disciplinary issues. There is no charge for using the Labour Relations Agency's mediation service.
Clear workplace policies and procedures help organisations to be productive, efficient and maintain high levels of staff morale. Ensuring that everyone knows how and why things are done is a key component in establishing best employment practice.
To make a claim to an industrial tribunal for unfair dismissal, in most circumstances employees will need to have worked continuously for the organisation for one year. There are other types of claim, for example regarding unpaid wages, holiday entitlements or discrimination, which do not require one year's continuous service.
Employees who are trustees of an occupational pension scheme (as defined in Section 1 of the Pension Schemes (Northern Ireland) Act 1993) or directors of trustee companies are entitled to reasonable time off with pay to carry out any of their trustee’s duties, or to receive training relevant to those duties.
Employees, workers and contractors have different rights and responsibilities.
Problems can arise in any workplace. Below are some examples, though not an exhaustive list. Employers, employees and their representatives may find it helpful to refer to the Labour Relations Agency's codes of practice, sample letters, flowcharts and guides. Our service is confidential and all our resources are free of charge to anyone working to prevent or resolve a workplace issue in Northern Ireland.
Employees can be dismissed for reasons such as gross misconduct or a fundamental breach of contract. A fair and robust process should be followed where all parties have certain rights and responsibilities.
The Safety Representative and Safety Committees Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1979 apply to organisations that have recognised trade unions for collective bargaining purposes.