Key Learning Outcomes

To be able to:

  • Identify the relevant legislation required for running a business.
  • Identify and explain the broad effects of the relevant legislation on business practice.
  • To reference the current relevant legislation and institutions in their examination responses. (Reference to outdated legislation and institutions may result in students losing marks in the examination.).
  • Recognise that Business is dynamic, subject to change, for example legislative changes.

Introduction: Legislation

1. What current legislation (laws) are relevant for the Leaving Certificate Business?

Consumer Legislation

  1.  Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980
  2.  Consumer Protection Act 2007
  3. Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 (as it relates to consumer protection only)

Workplace Legislation

  1. Workplace Relations Act 2015
  2. Industrial Relations Act 1990
  3. Employment Equality Act 1998 – 2015
  4. Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 – 2015

Data Protection

  1. Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003
  2. General Data Protection Regulation 2018

Company Legislation

  1. Companies Act 2014 (as it relates to private company formation only)

2.  Explain the functions of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) with regards to protecting the interest of consumers?

The Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provided for the establishment of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in October 2014. Its functions in relation to consumer protection include:

  • Investigates and challenges practices which are damaging to the consumer and/or the wider economy.
  • Provides information to consumers to help them make informed decisions.
  • Can take enforcement actions against trading companies in breach of the consumer protection legislation.
  • Advises policy makers (Government) in relation to consumer protection and competition matters.
  • Examines mergers and acquisitions to ensure there is not a substantial lessening of competition in Ireland which could impact on prices/services provided to consumers.
  • Responsibility for market surveillance in relation to safety of products covered by various EU Directives.
  • Brings anti-competitive behaviour and practices that are harmful to consumers to an end (via court actions where necessary).

3.  Explain the term “Data Protection” under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003.

  • Data protection is the means by which the privacy rights of individuals are safeguarded in relation to the processing of their personal data.
  • The essence of data protection is that everybody should be able to control how information about them is used.
  • It ensures that personal data which is processed is accurate and it enforces a set of standards for the processing of such information.
  • It includes both automated data and manual data.
  • The information held must be accurate, up-to-date, appropriate security measures must be in place to safeguard it and it should only be held as long as is necessary.
  • The rights of individuals cannot be subjected to automated decision making; there must be human input in the making of important decisions relating to an individual.

4.  What are the obligations of a business to its customers in relation to data protection under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018?

As an EU regulation the GDPR came into force across member states in May 2018. The obligations of a business to its customers include:

  • Collect no more data than is necessary from an individual for the purpose for which it will be used.
  • Obtain personal data fairly from the individual by giving them notice of the collection and its specific purpose.
  • Retain the data for no longer than is necessary for that specified purpose.
  • Keep data safe and secure. A business must report security breaches to Data Protection Commissioner without delay.
  • Provide an individual with a copy of his or her personal data if they request it.

5.  What the main functions of the Labour Court, under the Workplace Relations Act 2015?
The main functions of the Labour Court are to:

  • In dispute resolution is to act as a Court of last resort. When the local dispute resolution arrangements in the company and the Workplace Relation Commission (WRC) services have been fully utilised a case comes to the Labour Court for consideration.
  • Appeal Court, the Labour Court is the single appeal body in all disputes arising under employment rights legislation (e.g. WRC Adjudication Officers decision in equality case). Labour Court decisions can be appealed to the High Court but only on a point of law.

6.  Under the terms of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015, explain the term ‘employment discrimination’ and list the nine grounds on which such discrimination is outlawed.

Discrimination is described as the treatment of a person in a less favourable way than another person is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the nine grounds. Employment Discrimination includes recruitment and promotion; equal pay; working condition; training or experience; dismissal and harassment including sexual harassment.

Grounds under which discrimination is outlawed:

Gender, Civil (Marital) Status, Family Status, Sexual Orientation, Religion, Age, Disability, Race, Member of Traveller Community.

Exam Q&A

Question 1

Read the information supplied and answer the questions which follow.

The overall objective of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is to deliver a world-class workplace (industrial) relations service and employment rights framework that serves the needs of Irish employers and employees. WRC’s core services include the provision of conciliation, adjudication, mediation and advisory services on complaints and disputes.
Source: “Guide to the WRC”: www.workplacerelation.ie


Outline three factors that can lead to industrial relations disputes in

Sample Answer (i)

  1. Disputes over pay: Workers may launch a variety of different pay claims, e.g. cost of living claim, comparability claim or relativity claim. If the employer resists or rejects these pay claims it could lead to industrial disputes.
  2. Disputes over working conditions/duties: Workers are motivated by different needs. Safety is a fundamental need for employees. Failure by management to provide safe working conditions, safe equipment, proper hygiene and adequate heating can lead to industrial disputes.
  3. Redundancy: Disputes may occur over redundancy if workers feel that unfair procedures for selection are being used or if redundancy payments are not adequate e.g. employers may wish to ‘cherry pick’ employees for redundancy while a trade union representing the employees may favour a LIFO system.


Explain each of the four WRC services named above.

Sample Answer (ii)

Conciliation: The Conciliation Officer of the WRC acts as an impartial facilitator, a neutral and impartial third party to assist employer and employees in resolving their industrial relations differences. The Conciliation Officer listens to both sides and tries to get them to come to an agreed solution.

The process of conciliation normally begins when one or both disputing parties submit a request for assistance in resolving their industrial relations dispute. Arrangements for conciliation meetings are finalised only when both parties confirm their willingness to participate in the process.

Participation is entirely voluntary, so too are the outcomes. Solutions are reached only by consensus, whether by negotiation and agreements facilitated between the parties themselves, or by the parties agreeing to settlement terms proposed by the Conciliation Officer.

Adjudication: Adjudication Officers of the WRC hear evidence from both parties in the dispute and will then decide the matter, a written decision is given in relation to the complaint. A party to a complaint may appeal the decision to the Labour Court. Adjudication Officers hear cases which are referred to them by the WRC Director General.

The Adjudication Officer’s role is to hold a hearing (which are held in private) where both parties are given an opportunity to be heard and to present any evidence relevant to the complaint. The Adjudication Officer will not attempt to mediate or conciliate the case. Parties will be free to represent themselves or may be accompanied and represented by a trade union official, a practicing barrister/solicitor.

Mediation: Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third person helps the parties achieve a voluntary resolution of a complaint or grievance. Typical issues particularly suitable for mediation are disputes involving individuals or small groups, matters involving interpersonal workplace relationships and grievance and disciplinary procedures generally.

Where an attempt at mediation has been successful, the mediation officer will record the terms of the agreement in writing and this will be signed by all parties. Where an attempt at mediation has proven unsuccessful, the mediation officer will notify the Director General of the WRC and each of the parties in writing of that fact. The complaint or dispute will then be referred for adjudication by an Adjudication Officer.

Advisory services: The Advisory Service of WRC works to build a positive industrial relations environment in the business, in order to promote best industrial relations policies, practices and procedures. The service can visit the firm; provide workshops and training on issues in the workplace.

The Advisory Service works closely with employers, trade unions and employees, principally in non-dispute situations. Assistance could include reviewing or developing effective workplace procedures in areas such as grievance, discipline, communications and consultation. The service is independent, impartial and experienced in industrial relations practice and theory.

Student Activity

Q1 Outline three grounds for fair dismissal under the terms of Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977- 2015.




Q2 In the context of business, what do the following letters stand for?

Write your answers in the spaces provided.






Q3 Distinguish between a ‘Data Controller’ and a ‘Data Subject’ under Data Protection Acts.

Data Controller:

Data Subject:

Q4 Complete the table which refers to the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 by placing a tick (x) in the correct box for each statement.

Consumer Issue Not of Merchantable quality Not fit for Purpose Not as Described Does not match sample
“Waterproof coat” that allowed water in.
Curtains have a different pattern to that seen in the shop.
A black phone inside a box labelled silver phone.
The water dispenser of a fridge is leaking.
Q5 Explain the terms:

(i) Conciliation:

(ii) Adjudication:

(iii) Constructive Dismissal:

Q6 Column 1 is a list of institutions. Column 2 is a list of possible functions of these institutions.
(One function does not refer to any of the institution listed)

Column 1: Institutions Column 2: Functions
1. Workplace Relation Commission A. Quick, inexpensive way for dealing with consumer complaints.
2. Data Protection Commissioner B. The appeal body for all decisions of Adjudication Officers.
3. Competition and Consumer Protection Commission C. Investigates complaints by members of the public who are concerned about how their personal information is stored.
4. Small Claim Procedure D. Is the central repository of public statutory information on Irish companies and business names.
5. Labour Court E. Promotes good practices and procedures in business by providing an advisory service.
F. Promoting and protecting the interests and welfare of consumers.

Match the two lists by placing the letter of the correct function under the relevant number below:

1 2 3 4 5
Q7 List five grounds under which employment discrimination is outlawed in Ireland.






Q8 Outline three provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2007