- Posted by Olivia Hande
- On August 9, 2016
- Employment, Equality, Labour Court
In part 2 of our series on timeliness in equality cases, former equality officer Bernadette Treanor, describes a Labour Court decision detailing a litmus test for ‘reasonable cause’ in extending the time of submission of a complaint.
EDA1615, Salesforce.com v Alli Leech
Issues: Extension of time to make complainant, reasonable cause – test to be applied
The matter before the Labour Court on appeal was whether the Adjudicator was correct in granting an extension of time at first instance. The complainant was unhappy with a promotion competition in February 2014. She became pregnant and went on maternity leave in September 2014. Ten days after the birth of her child in November 2014 the complainant broke her wrist and required opioid painkillers. The Adjudicator accepted those reasons as amounting to reasonable cause and extended the time for the submission of the complaint which was made exactly a year following the most recent alleged discriminatory act.
The Court usefully goes through a detailed consideration of reasonable cause including previous Labour Court and High Court Decisions and concludes that the appropriate test is
- The applicant must identify the reason relied upon which provides a justifiable excuse for the delay,
- The applicant must establish a causal link between the reason offered for the delay and her/his failure to present the complaint in time,
- Satisfy the Court as a matter of probability that the complaint would have been on time but for the factors being relied on.
The Court went on to say it is the actual delay that must be explained and if the factors relied upon ceased before the complaint was presented this may undermine the arguments. Likewise subjective arguments will not suffice.
In this case the Court found that the complainants records did not support her assertions and “concluded that the Complainant has failed to establish a causal connection between the factors relied upon by her and the delay in presenting the within claim”.
Why is this case of interest?
- It usefully sets out the objective test a complainant must meet in order for an extension of time request to succeed.