Republic of Ireland Law
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1. The first thing you need to realise is that there is no legal action which will guarantee you the promotion you believe you deserve. Essentially, the management and HR are entitled to appoint whom they wish to the position, even though you were acting manager. However, so long as you get a supporting Expert Medical Opinion, you will be able to sue your employer for the work injury you suffered from the under staffing leading to psychiatric injury on your part. So, I would advise you to see a solicitor and get the solicitor to issue legal proceedings against your employer. If necessary, get a second Opinion on the promotion. However, you will have a good cause of action for infliction of bad health given the fact your employer did not properly staff the premises.
3. Yes, paying a solicitor is always difficult.