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The Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1993

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Right not to suffer detriment in health and safety cases

Right not to suffer detriment in health and safety cases

13A.—(1) An employee has the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate failure to act, by his employer done on the ground that—

(a)having been designated by the employer to carry out activities in connection with preventing or reducing risks to health and safety at work, he carried out, or proposed to carry out, any such activities;

(b)being a representative of workers on matters of health and safety at work, or a member of a safety committee—

(i)in accordance with arrangements established under any statutory provision; or

(ii)by reason of being acknowledged as such by the employer,

he performed, or proposed to perform, any functions as such a representative or a member of such a committee;

(c)being an employee at a place where—

(i)there was no such representative or safety committee; or

(ii)there was such a representative or safety committee but it was not reasonably practicable for the employee to raise the matter by those means,

he brought to his employer’s attention, by reasonable means, circumstances connected with his work which he reasonably believed were harmful or potentially harmful to health or safety;

(d)in circumstances of danger which he reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he could not reasonably have been expected to avert, he left, or proposed to leave, or (while the danger persisted) refused to return to, his place of work or any dangerous part of his place of work; or

(e)in circumstances of danger which he reasonably believed to be serious and imminent, he took, or proposed to take, appropriate steps to protect himself or other persons from the danger.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(e) whether steps which an employee took, or proposed to take, were appropriate shall be judged by reference to all the circumstances including, in particular, his knowledge and the facilities and advice available to him at the time.

(3) An employee shall not be regarded as having been subjected to any detriment on the ground specified in paragraph (1)(e) if the employer shows that it was, or would have been, so negligent for the employee to take the steps which he took, or proposed to take, that a reasonable employer might have treated him as the employer did.

(4) Except where an employee is dismissed in circumstances in which, by virtue of Article 25 of the No. 1 Order, Article 20 of that Order does not apply to the dismissal, this Article shall not apply where the detriment in question amounts to dismissal.

Proceedings for contravention of Article 13A

13B.—(1) An employee may present a complaint to an industrial tribunal on the ground that he has been subjected to a detriment in contravention of Article 13A.

(2) On such a complaint it shall be for the employer to show the ground on which any act, or deliberate failure to act, was done.

(3) An industrial tribunal shall not consider a complaint under this Article unless it is presented—

(a)before the end of the period of three months beginning with the date of the act or failure to act to which the complaint relates or, where that act or failure is part of a series of similar acts or failures, the last of them; or

(b)where the tribunal is satisfied that it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be presented before the end of that period, within such further period as it considers reasonable.

(4) For the purposes of paragraph (3)—

(a)where an act extends over a period, the “date of the act” means the last day of that period; and

(b)a deliberate failure to act shall be treated as done when it was decided on;

and, in the absence of evidence establishing the contrary, an employer shall be taken to decide on a failure to act when he does an act inconsistent with doing the failed act or, if he has done no such inconsistent act, when the period expires within which he might reasonably have been expected to do the failed act if it was to be done.


13C.—(1) Where the industrial tribunal finds that a complaint under Article 13B is well-founded, it shall make a declaration to that effect and may make an award of compensation to be paid to the complainant in respect of the act or failure to act complained of.

(2) The amount of the compensation awarded shall be such as the tribunal considers just and equitable in all the circumstances having regard to the infringement complained of and to any loss which is attributable to the act or failure which infringed his right.

(3) The loss shall be taken to include—

(a)any expenses reasonably incurred by the complainant in consequence of the act or failure complained of; and

(b)loss of any benefit which he might reasonably be expected to have had but for that act or failure.

(4) In ascertaining the loss, the tribunal shall apply the same rule concerning the duty of a person to mitigate his loss as applies to damages recoverable under the common law of Northern Ireland.

(5) Where the tribunal finds that the act or failure complained of was to any extent caused or contributed to by action of the complainant, it shall reduce the amount of the compensation by such proportion as it considers just and equitable having regard to that finding.

Power to extend Articles 13A to 13C

13D.  The Department may by order provide that, subject to any such modifications and exceptions as may be prescribed in the order, Articles 13A to 13C (and any other provisions in this Order or the No. 1 Order so far as relating to those Articles) shall apply to such descriptions of persons other than employees as may be prescribed in the order as they apply to employees (but as if references to their employer were references to such person as may be so prescribed).

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