Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries



Labour Tribunal decisions delayed for years

Investigation | 17 March 2022
Labour Tribunal (LT) , Labour Appeals Tribunal (LAT)

A complainant stated there had been a combined delay of some three (3) years in hearing his wrongful dismissal claim and made a formal complaint to the Ombudsman after his matter had been heard by both the Labour Tribunal (LT) and the Labour Appeals Tribunal (LAT). He additionally alleged that no response was provided to a query made to the Department of Labour and Pensions (DLP) and the tribunals in mid-2020.

The Ombudsman agreed to open an investigation regarding whether the delays seen in this case were unreasonable and whether the response requested by the complainant was also delayed unreasonably. Our review found the delays between the labour case hearing and the tribunals’ decision being issued following those hearings lasted 13 months for the LT and 14 months for the LAT. The Ombudsman found these delays were beyond any reasonable standard and well outside the 28 days set within the Labour Act for the issuance of such decisions.

The complainant’s query in July 2020 to the DLP and tribunals also remained unanswered at the time of our investigation. These facts led the Ombudsman to conclude maladministration (unreasonable delay) had occurred in these cases and recommendations were made in response to these findings. Government’s compliance with these recommendations is still being monitored at this time.

 The recommendations made included: 

  • The appropriate government representative should issue a formal apology to the complainant for the delays in the handling of his labour complaint
  • The government should take steps to address serious failures to follow timelines set in the Labour Act
  • The government should review staffing and resources needs of the Department of Labour and Pensions and the labour tribunals