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The last 18 months or so has been the most disruptive and transformative period many businesses will have faced in their existence. Much of this revolved around staff and staffing issues as people adapted and roles evolved. The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) annual report for 2020, published earlier this year, shows however that not every business adapted as smoothly as others as they continued to deal with issues and complaints from the workplace.

During 2020 the WRC inspection unit completed almost 7,700 workplace inspections, with over 5,000 of these being unannounced. These inspections led to 41 Compliance Notices being issued in 2020, 8 Fixed Payment Notices and 81 employers being prosecuted for failure to comply with statutory obligations. In total, 1,760 employers were found to be in breach of legislation and €1,700,000 in unpaid wages was recovered.

Over 8,100 complaint applications were received by the WRC in 2020, encompassing 18,969 individual complaints. Complaints in relation to Pay (4,117), Redundancy (3,894) and Hours of Work (3,150) were the most prevalent however there were still notable numbers relating to Unfair Dismissal (2,155) and Discrimination/Equality (1,331) claims, showing that these issues were still affecting employees and employers alike.

Often, employers may find themselves a focus of such complaints because they are not sure how they should deal with an issue or allegation. That uncertainty can sometimes lead to a response that is not ideal in the eyes of an employee and can give rise to the complaint being lodged.

Access to an ARAG Commercial Legal Protection policy gives an employer direct contact with a legal advisor so they can get advice and assistance when they need it, before making a wrong move. You cannot always avoid a complaint being made, but by getting advice and following process you can make sure you do all you can to minimise the grounds for those complaints and build a robust defence.

Please contact your ARAG Account Manager for further details on the cover available.

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.