Zurlo v University of Ulster (Time Limit)  NIIT 569_02 (4 December 2002)
CASE REF: 569/02
APPLICANT: Raffaella Zurlo
RESPONDENT: University of Ulster
The unanimous decision of the Tribunal is that the applicant's complaint must be dismissed because the tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain those complaints.
The applicant appeared in person.
The respondent was represented by Mr D Flanagan, Barrister-at-Law, instructed by Mr O McCullough, of the Human Resources Department, University of Ulster.
The preliminary issue
"Whether the tribunal has jurisdiction to entertain the applicant's complaint in view of the provisions of Article 55 of the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order [the 'Order'] 1996 in relation to the time limit for presenting the claim".
"Whether the tribunal has jurisdiction to entertain the applicant's complaint in view of:-
1. the provisions of Article 55 of the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 in relation to the time limit for presenting the claim; and
2. the provisions of Regulation 30(2) of the Working Time Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1998 [the 'Regulations'].
The statutory framework
(1) A written statement from the applicant, which she used as the basis for her direct evidence in these proceedings.
(2) A letter from the Labour Relations Agency to the applicant, dated 29 November 2002.
(3) Various miscellaneous e-mail correspondence between the applicant and respondent.
(4) A Labour Relations Agency information note, Information Note Number 5 (the September 2001 edition).
(1) The applicant is of an Italian origin. She worked for a considerable period in Germany, before coming to Northern Ireland in January 1999.
(2) The applicant has a very good command of English and worked for the respondent as a translator and interpreter.
(3) The applicant is confident and capable and intelligent.
(4) Although the applicant's claims for holiday pay entitlements in these proceedings are based on entitlements allegedly accrued in respect of work carried out between September 2000 and February 2001, the Originating Application in these proceedings was not presented until 26 February 2002.
(5) The applicant was unaware of the fact that she might have an entitlement to holiday pay until 4 December 2001. On that date, she became of a possible entitlement to holiday pay because of her contact with the Labour Relations Agency on that date.
(6) The applicant could have the Labour Relations Agency at any earlier date, at any time from September 2001 onwards. She contacted them in December 2001 mainly because she was unhappy because, at that time, she was doing translations from home and on some occasions was paid less than she expected, although some translations took her longer due to their complicity.
(7) After her contacts with the Labour Relations Agency, she contacted the respondent, with a view to arriving at an agreed settlement in respect of the holiday pay claims. However, by the date of presentation of these proceedings, the respondent had not been willing to arrive at a settlement.
(1) The applicant asserted that the tribunal bend the time limits because it was understandable that she was unaware, until December 2001, of her possible entitlements. She was, according to herself, a 'foreigner' in Northern Ireland. She had spent a long time in Germany. She knew that every system has quirks. She didn't know that under Northern Ireland law, there were entitlements to holiday pay.
(2) According to the respondent, the applicant did not show that it was not reasonably practicable for her to present a complaint within the primary time limit. Although she may have been unaware of her rights until her contact with the Labour Relations Agency in December 2001, that did not make presentation of the complaint impracticable, because it arose from the fault of the complainant in not making such enquiries as she should have reasonably in all the circumstances have made. In this regard, Mr Flanagan, for the respondent, drew our attention to the commentary which is set out at Paragraph 197 to 208 of 'Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law, at Division G and T'.
Date and place of hearing: 4 December 2002, Belfast
Date decision recorded in register and issued to parties: