Any Questions: GDPR; Restrictive Covenants; Policies and Procedures; Disciplinary Issues

Posted in : 'Any Questions' Webinar Recordings on 13 December 2017
Seamus McGranaghan
O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors
Issues covered:

Scott: Welcome everybody to the fourth webinar of the series with O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors where we're dealing with questions from customers and clients about employment law issues, the "Any Questions?" webinar. This is the last one of 2017. As of next year we're going to be changing time and day. We're moving from Wednesday at 12:00, and we're going to be on the first Friday of the month at 11:00 in the mornings. So you can grab a cup of tea with your colleagues. And send us some questions, listen in, use it as a kind of group CPD event if you like.

But today we're going to be looking at some questions that were sent in either live today or indeed previously to either me or to Seamus. So I'll just point out, Seamus got a question about holiday pay. We're going to be dealing with holidays today from a client. And he will get back to you directly. You know who you are, and he will deal with that later on.

Questions this month include:


Restrictive Covenants

Policies and Procedures

Disciplinary Issues



Please Note: This is a direct transcript of our recent webinar. It may not read as well as a written article would.


Q. Will employers be held vicariously liable if an angry ex-employee commits a data breach and decides to post personal data online?

We're going to start off today with data protection. So Seamus, the question here is about a fairly well-reported case of Morrisons supermarket. The employer has been held liable for a data breach committed by a disgruntled employee. And that hardly seems fair on the company. Could you explain how this came about? And does it mean all employers could be held liable to compensate employees and customers if an angry ex-employee decides to post personal data online?

Seamus: Certainly Scott, good afternoon. This was case that was relating to Morrisons supermarket. It has been well reported. But the background to it was that the employee was Andrew Skelton and he was 43. This was based at around the Liverpool area in terms of Morrisons. And that he was employed in a fairly senior position of Senior Internal Auditor.

And the circumstances had arisen where there was some disciplinary proceedings taken against the employee that was reported to do with legal haze. And another advance of the employee exiting his position he had an unfortunately taken data including bank and salary details of nearly 100,000 staff at Morrisons.

With that information, he proceeded to post that online, and he sent it to a number of newspapers so that they would report that this was capable of happening within Morrisons. And following that the employees were made aware, and they subsequently took a class action in the court system.

And so with a total of 5,518 former and current employees of Morrisons, and they were saying that essentially Morrisons was responsible for the breach. And for the breach of their privacy, their confidentiality and their data protection, and they're seeking compensation for upset and distress as a result of that. And so we then turn to the court outcome in relation to it.

Now the court were very clear that the employee Mr. Skelton had acted in a deliberate manner to do this. It wasn't a situation where there had been a breach by mistake or by accident. This was a deliberate set of circumstances by this employee who was disgruntled. So there was no doubt that there was an element of responsibility with the employer. And my understanding is the employee... there was a jail sentence that was given in relation to his actions.

But interestingly, as we know, this was a circumstance that happened at Morrisons. They are the employer and that the court found that they were the vicariously liable. Decided they weren't primarily liable and they ruled that there was no breach of data protection, but they said that the Morrisons had the responsibility for keeping personal data secure. And that the responsibility for confidentiality lies with the organization. And really it looked at and focused at as to how Morrisons protected the data, and protected the rights of their employees.

Scott: They gave him a laptop and effectively allowed him to take it home. I think there were issues about how that was controlled. If they'd done more, perhaps he wouldn't be in a position to post it.

Seamus: Yeah. And the court said that . . . its key question was what appropriate steps were taken to protect the data? And was there appropriate response to the incident itself. So, there was a finding that they were vicariously liable. And the employees are claiming compensation for their upset and distress. Morrisons have appealed that decision. And I think that's probably not surprising given the fact that the judgement would seem somewhat unfair to Morrisons, and the fact that this was a deliberate act by a disgruntled employee.

But court have been clear that Morrisons are ultimately liable here. And if my information is with a third party, I do expect that they will protect that. And I will want to know what was going wrong if that doesn't happen. So they have appealed that. What we do know is that Morrisons has said that it has taken over £2 million in order to try and address the issues.

Q. Are they likely to receive a fine from the ICO?

Scott: And that's before any fines from the ICO and that's before compensation for these employees?

Seamus: Absolutely. This is just money that Morrisons have spent in order to try and rectify the situation, and in terms of the data and with their employees. And so, I mean, on top of that where we're looking at is, I would suspect that there will be an ICO fine that will arise, and their current standards at the minute under the existing data protection there's a maximum of £500,000 in that.

Of course, changes when GDPR comes in which could go up to €20 million or 4% of on the turnover which could be a serious kick. And the other aspect then, of course, is that the court have to make a finding subject to this appeal in terms of how much the employees could be awarded in terms of their upset and distress.

Scott: And most of those 5,000 employees presumably are 5,500, there's others in the background as well presumably that they may have come forward since this judgement.

Seamus: Well, we know that the total leak affected over 100,000 employees. So really, it's a smaller number that have come forward with the court case. And you would expect that if there is a judgement and that they are not precluded on the statutory basis or anything like that that they will follow through as well.

Scott: It's a bit harsh on supermarkets. They were found liable for an employee who beat up a customer in the forecourt not that long ago. And I believe there was another issue with Morrisons.

QWhat about consent?

Seamus: I know that there are concerns, and people are worried about GDPR coming in in May time. But just as I was doing a bit of research in relation to that I did come across there was a further Morrisons report of June 2017 on the ICO website.

What's specifically interesting about this one when it comes to GDPR is in around the area of consent. That back case it happened that Morrisons had been found had deliberately sent 130,671 emails about marketing-related activities for Morrisons to members of the public, that related all to their loyalty card. That's where they got the emails from the addresses, and started to send the emails right was through the loyalty scheme that they had.

And those emails were sent in October/November 2016. And I talked about their current details and it provided various promotional and marketing material within those emails. And the fine in relation to that that was issued by ICO because they said that that was a breach, was for total of £10,500.

And so not a massively significant fine, but certainly where I think that this will lead to would be if this happens post-GDPR in May, and we know that under GDPR that the consent has to be express. So it's no longer acceptable to have a pre-tick box and that the consent has to be clear and unambiguous. And I think that if this takes place or something similar happens post-GDPR, I think that the fine will be substantially increased.

Scott: Well, my calculation on that, so you just get £10,500, so make it £10,000 because it's easier for me. And you take the maximum fine that the ICO can award and multiply it by 40 to 20 million rather than half 0.5 million, then you're looking somewhere in the region of £400,000 to £450,000 just on the breach. If they stick to the same limit. So it was sizable enough.

Seamus: Absolutely. And it just would be concerned. And I mean, I did a seminar yesterday on GDPR. And one of the issues was really specific and around marketing material. And had to be very clear with people that you do need to consent to do that. Where you don't have the consent, that is going to be a breach, and that you have to also have that option for someone to be able to withdraw their consent and to do that quite easily.

And I'm what works with some of the other difficult task. So very much gone are the days where people can buy commercial lists of email addresses for people to target for business. And under GDPR that's going to be a significant problem for people.

Restrictive Covenants

Q. What is a restrictive covenant within a contract of employment?

Scott: Okay. We're going to move now to restrictive covenants. So, the question that we've had here which came in on Friday last week and caused me to do a bit of research as well as Seamus. Now that the world is so plugged into remote and agile working, and the office or business can be established virtually anywhere, traditionally drafted restrictive covenants, but not setting up in competition based on geographical proximity to a competitor seemed to be virtually obsolete. So maybe you can deal with that. And first of all, Seamus, could you explain what a restrictive covenant is within a contract of employment?

Seamus: Well, certainly you will see either within the contract itself or else within a specific document appended or attached to the contract of employment, sometimes you'll have restrictions that are set. And the types of restrictions that are normally set out would be protected in terms of confidentiality and protection in terms of issues relating to trade and non-solicitation of employees and things like that.

But the reality is that the restrictive covenants can apply before or during the lifetime of the employment, and then post-terminations as well.

Scott: And some of those some of those are okay. Not stealing your staff and such like not divulging confidential information. Now that last cycles back to the sender checking and all that kind of stuff.

Seamus: Yes. So some of the restrictive clauses can last a period of perpetuity in terms of knowledge until that knowledge would be maybe delivered in the public. Or alternatively, they can be for a period of time. And you'll tend to find the restrictions in relation to trade as to what the employee can do after they leave that employer, as to where they can work, what customers of the existing employer they can contact.

And those sorts of things will be usually time limited for a period of sometimes six months, sometimes a year, and depending on what the person's job was and what the risks are.

Scott: So generally speaking, the law would say, not I say generally speaking but when, where they use them. If there's a reasonable time period if you're dealing with it reasonably, say look, we've got a right to protect, legitimately protect our business interests. And it's not on restraint of trade, they are lawful, they can be enforced specifically terming to the geographical thing.

In the past you would have had the classic, there's a hairdresser and you're not allowed to open up a rival hairdressers within a 3 mile radius or within greater Belfast or whatever it happens to be, because you know, you get your business anywhere in the world that the question we're saying could be obsolete. So, what about the geographical proximity and locations now? What about that aspect of a restrictive covenant?

Q. Can you restrict in terms of geographical proximity?

Seamus: Yeah. I think in the way that we work are very much dependent on how your business works itself. It might be very easy to put a restriction on in terms of that. And that maybe, of course we're always looking back to make sure that the restrictive covenants are balanced, and that they're necessary to protect the needs of the business. But certainly that you can definitely see that there's a watering down of the geographical aspect of restrictive covenants on the basis that you can have a laptop and/or a mobile phone and work anywhere in the world at all. You don't necessarily have to be based in a certain area or location. For me, it's more about protecting the sources of your business.

And from that aspect, you could be dealing with restrictive covenants that say, "Well, you can't trade within a certain area, you can't trade with existing clients or clients that have been yours for the last 12 months of your time with the company." So for me it's more about protecting the sources of the business rather than in a specific area. And saying that age-old problem with restrictive covenants tends to be that they're very complex, and you have to read them and re-read them, and you really have to break them down to get an understanding of them. And whenever you get to the bottom of it you find that it doesn't really protect you in any sense whatsoever in terms of the business.

For me it's very important that you're striping it back to look at, "Well, what are the aims that we're trying to protect here in respect of our business and how do we go about doing that?" There's no point lifting in a blank and sticking it into a contract or putting it into a restrictive covenant agreement. And a handout to the employee, explain it to the employee the best you can and get them to sign and say they're protected.

I think you really have to go on the individual needs of the company, seek to protect the legitimate aim of the business, explain that to the employee. And both at the time and they're signing, and they're free to go and get their own legal advice at the time when they sign. And it's important as well at the point of when the person resigns and that you do bring them back in. You meet with them, you explain, you go through the contract, you go through the restrictive covenants. And then after that, you put it in writing to them. And just to make sure that you're complying with all your own obligations because often the employee will say, "I don't remember signing it or I don't remember any of this."

Scott: Or it could be changed because of being promoted over time and then they then have other information, and the stuff they used to have is no longer relevant or the restriction is the longer... So those change over time, we've got to keep them all up-to-date.

Geographically though, really what we're saying is rather than restrict it by where the business is located, it's restricting where the people get their business from. And if that's you do all your business in America or Indonesia, then that's where you would just try and restrict where that would set up business. If you're not doing that in greater Belfast, you're not doing it in the Republic of Ireland, you can't restrict any kind of growth there from the employee's point of view. It's open season there.

Seamus: I think that's the basics of what... And the other issue that I've come across in respect of restrictive covenants is that they are complex. And whenever you get them in before a judge if you're going for injunctive relief or anything like that, the difficulty tends to be that a judge wants to see a clear and concise restrictive covenant clause. If the judge considers that it's difficult to understand, the judge will automatically say, "How do you expect the employee to understand this or to have knowledge of it?"

I had a case where we inherited a restrictive covenant in an agreement. We got a strong indication from the judge that it was just too complex for anybody to understand. You're referring back to your clauses within clauses and sub-clauses. And we were able to negotiate and work our way around it in terms of settlement. But it was a clear direction from a judge here in Belfast County Court that he felt that the restrictive covenant wasn't clear in terms of what it was.

Scott: And of course, if it's not clear, then it's not enforceable. And if it's not enforceable, you're not protected.

Seamus: Well exactly. You know, so you're better taking the point of view that your restrictive covenant is always there to protect the legitimate aim of your business. It's not there to penalize an employee or to be annoyed at an employee for leaving and slap them with a strong restrictive covenant or anything like that. It's there to protect the legitimate aim. And I think if you base it and draft it on that basis, that's the better way of looking at it.

Policies and Procedures

Q. When introducing new policies or procedures e.g. disciplinary or grievance procedures, how much consultation or notice is required? And also, do you have to red-circle any previous practices if they were more beneficial than the terms of the new policies or procedures?

Scott: Okay. We're going to move on to changing policies and procedures. The question here is if bringing in a new policies or procedures, for example, disciplinary or grievance procedures, etc. how much consultation or notice is required? And also, do you have to red-circle any previous practices if they were more beneficial than the terms of the new policies or procedures?

Seamus: My view tends to always be whenever you're consulting with employees that if you're making any proposed changes and whether those are changes to the terms and conditions or to policies or procedures, that you're best to take a sort of open and transparent approach with them. Just to mention briefly, that there is a bit of a distinction between the terms and conditions in the contract and what might be perceived than just to be policies and procedures within the staff handbook.

But either way, the best approach is to consult. Labour relations, they have to have a very good guidance in relations to your amendment of terms and conditions. And here we're talking about specifically I think about policies and procedures. So, my view tends to be that there can be a number of reasons why we want to make amendments.

It could be that there's just an update in legislation and we have to amend or it could be that we've had a chippy employees coming across and we want to realign contracts after a period of time. And so the various reasons for it. The best way is always to open up the consultation I think in terms of the specific question here is in two parts. One is about the length of time that you have to consult for.

There's no strict period set out within the legislation or within any of the statutory guidance that we have to say that it has to be for a certain period of time. But there are a number of factors that I think that you need to consider about your period of consultation. And it could be, you need to look at the number of employees that you're talking about here. How many employees are going to be affected? You need to look at the seriousness and the impact of the amendments that are proposed.

If it's just a short change in one paragraph and agreement, it might not be that serious. Whereas if you're changing the whole policy itself, you might need to engage further. You need to think about whether or not the number of your employees, whether there's a trade union involved and the number of amendments in case you have to go down the line of collective consultation.

Scott: There's over 20 contracts changing, it falls within the EU definition of collective consultation . . .

Seamus: Yes.

Scott: ... requirements. So if you don't do that, you could end up witha failure to consult claim, and up to three months compensation for each individual that's been affected by that change.

Seamus: Yeah. That's it. So there's lots of things to think about in terms of the period of consultations. From my experience consultation for me as all about how it's presented to the presented to the employees. I don't think that there's any point trying to hide anything from the employees, but at the same time, you're not going to cause yourself huge difficulties maybe within creating problems where there isn't one to create.

I think it's best to be upfront and honest about what the changes are and the reasons that the changes are required. And whether that is, it's an updated law and we have to do this or alternatively, the company can't afford the sick pay scheme any longer. To change terms and additions, you do need the consent of the employees so it's about working with the employee or the trade union or the reps in order to do the best you can in order to appease the concerns of the employees. And that might mean that there's a bit of negotiation happening in their mind, and what you're proposals are.

Scott: That's indicated in the European jurisprudence where they talk of a consultation being with a view to reaching an agreement. So that has to be to some extent some give and take. And if you just give somebody saying, "Look, this is your new terms and conditions," or "here's your new policy," and they haven't had any input, they're not going to get buy-in. I mean, where they have to do the claim, the impression it gives to the employees is, "Hey, it's my ball. I make the decisions." That's not really a long-term way to get employee engagement, if nothing else.

Seamus: Absolutely. Mythought in that is that the relationship is based on trust. If the employees feel that they are . . . having their eye wiped, or that the things are not being disclosed to them where they should be, there will be a loss of trust there and you'll get entrenchment. So there can be a negative fall out if that happens. So I think it's almost better that if you're upfront and clear about what the proposals are, and the reasons for and explaining those to the employees and that's the better approach in terms of consultation.

Disciplinary Issues

Q. What length of time is considered appropriate for a final warning?

Scott: Okay. For the final part of the webinar today, we're going to look at disciplinary issues. The first one is about the length of time that you can give a final warning. So it says, "Is 18 months a reasonable time period for a duration of a final warning or should it be 12?"

Seamus: Well, that's an interesting because I have had circumstances where it's both but your first protocol must always be to go back to your policy and procedure and see what it says.

Scott: If you haven't changed it.

Seamus: Yeah. The general position is that the average I would say certainly would be 12 months and in respect of the length of time for a final written warning you want it to be in place. And sometimes I will look at it and I will say, the policies and procedures for clients if they provide me might say that we have a choice of getting a 12 month or a 24 month. It'll even come as far as that. But the reality is, if it says 12 months in your policy and procedure, you're going to have difficulty moving outside of that. And I think that's the bottom line with it.

Whether you get bite back from an employee who is on the brink of dismissal and you pull it back and say, "I'm going to give you a final written warning and we're going to extend the period, you might get too much of a bite back from an employee in terms of what they might be appreciative of the fact that they're not losing their job, so to speak.

Scott: And that one would be similar to extending a probationary period. They're going to complain too much because the alternative is they'll get sacked.

Seamus: Yes. Exactly. There's that element of it. But certainly I think that if you decided that you were going for 18 months, your policy said 12 and the employee felt that that was a breach, and you ended up at tribunal. The tribunal will be taken with your, sorry, your policy procedure says 12 months.

Q. Is it advisable not to take any disciplinary proceedings including an investigation against an employee (despite having conducted part of the investigation) where the same alleged misconduct is subject to separate criminal proceedings?

Scott: Still on investigations and disciplinary issues. Is it advisable not to take any disciplinary proceedings including an investigation against an employee despite having conducted part of the investigation where the same alleged misconduct is separately subject to criminal proceedings?

Seamus: It's a bit of a difficult question to answer that one. And it's very much going to be based on what the circumstances are. So my advice would be I'll have to know what the circumstances of the individual case are. Certainly what I would say is that the employment process through a disciplinary is very different to the process of a criminal proceedings on it.

There are two very different standards of proof that apply. And certainly, I would know of policies and procedures that do you say that you should wait until there is a common term. And we're coming this back to the criminal proceedings.

Scott: And that would often apply in the professions where the careers at risk related to criminal offence.

Seamus: Yes. For instance, I'm aware of TNC policies for teachers, where you're at-risk of termination on the basis of allegation that will prevent you from teaching again. They will say that you should wait until there is finality in terms of criminal proceedings. But the difficulty with that, of course, is that if you have somebody at the level of disciplinary, you may not have an alternative but to suspend them. And if you suspend them then you're paying them, and that you're running maybe possibly a two-year period where you're paying someone for . . . and while you're getting the outcome of the criminal proceedings which is entirely out of your hands.

Scott: So unless your procedure says that you have to suspend, you don't necessarily have to suspend. You could continue with the investigation but it'll cause some difficulties because the employee may say, "Hold on. I don't want to incriminate myself." But there's nothing technically in law that would stop that investigation running side by side with a criminal investigation unless you're instructed by the courts or your procedure say.

Seamus: Yeah. Exactly. And I think, I mean from the tribunals view as well, if you ended up going to dismissal because of allegations, and then you would tend to think if there's criminal aspect to them that you are at that sort of heavier end of gross misconduct and things like that the tribunal will not look at it from a point of view of saying, "Well, you should have waited because you don't know what the decision is." I think that the tribunal will very much to look at the circumstances.

I've won at the minute and where we put up to the tribunal, and we get an application saying, we needed the outcome of criminal proceedings first of all. Now they moved quite quickly, the criminal proceedings that have now been dealt with. But the tribunal really they challenge us and say, "Well, why do you need the criminal proceedings if they have nothing to do with what the tribunal's outcome is?"

Because they will look of course at the fairness. And they'll look at the procedure applied, and whether or not the decision was reasonable in the circumstances. And they look at proportionality and all the kind of stuff. So it's a very different task that the tribunal will look at. But I think you're just looking at overall fairness and whether the impact of a criminal outcome will have such an impact upon your decision, and that you might need to wait in some circumstances. But I appreciate the fact that could be very costly for employers.

Q. Can misconduct allegations or the letter of dismissal be issued by email nowadays?

Scott: And next question. Can a misconduct allegations or the letter of dismissal be issued by email nowadays? People use emails rather than send letters. It's okay to say, "You're now dismissed" and send by email or invite them in to a hearing by email rather than letter.

Seamus: Yeah. My initial thoughts on that are that, I don't have any difficulty with email being used because the fact of the matter is that it's how we all communicate. And it's accepted by the courts. I mean, in the courts and tribunals, we communicate by email as well. And on the practicalities of that, I've maybe have a different type of thought about that than it would be that if you are dismissing someone and if they've been suspended and they're out of the office or out of the place of work, and I think it's fair in terms of sending an email. But if they're still in the office, I think you would have the practicalities of going to them, getting their property back, or getting the company property back often. It might be a case where you're escorting them off the premises and things like that. It's one to think about.

I think as a matter of courtesy, and the better way of dealing with it would always be face-to-face. That mightn't always be possible. And I think what you need to make sure that the person does use that email account that they are going to read it. Think about maybe putting in a sent / delivered / read receipt on to your email . . . if it's possible because not all the e-mail systems can do that. And I make sure that that was on.

In terms of the letter sent and the allegations, I don't have any difficulties. If you knew that the employee is going to pick that email up. And certainly what you can do is have a conversation with the employee and ask them, is there a way for us to communicate by email that you will check and things like that. Certainly no difficulties in doing it that way.

Q. Does an admission at an early stage obviate the need for any investigation?

Scott: Still with investigations, and certainly does an admission at an early stage obviate the need for any investigation?

Seamus: Yeah. Well, I think just in terms of the investigation, obviously look at we have guidance and in the form of our labour relations there's guidance on investigations. And sometimes you will get an admission early on, and you can have a natural view of, "Well, we've got the admission, we don't need to look at any further into it."

A couple of concerns on our end up and from experience we have an investigatory stage, you're maybe not exactly 100% clear in terms of what your allegations are on what is the person actually admitting to or giving you admission on. And if there is going to be admission during an investigations stage, definitely then it should recorded in writing. Stranger things have happened and it doesn't you know, go beyond the part that round that somebody might come back and say, "Well, I didn't actually understand the allegation at the time. I didn't admit to that."

Scott: What are you working to something else? I thought you asked me if I did X not Y.

Seamus: Or alternatively, I felt pressured. I felt under duress and I did it but now I don't. I think the safer option is always to conduct your investigation. And remember that when you're coming to your disciplinary that you are providing the employee with all of the evidence that you have accumulated, that you tend to rely upon at that disciplinary.

 And because if you get to the disciplinary and the employee says, "No, that they've got full details of the allegations and they're very well set out," and they says, "No, I don't agree with that." And if you've no evidence, no documentation, and you're simply relying upon admissions, it's going to be in difficulties. But there will be some circumstances I think where you could just get away with it.

Scott: And it should go to some of the things. So you might not necessarily suspend somebody. You remember when you're looking here. There may not be a dismissal offense. But if somebody pulls their hand up and said, "Yeah. I did that." And it falls within the warning, there's no need to suspend. You could deal with that disciplinary fairly quickly. And it's only really if they argue that they're going to have to deal with something else.

Seamus: Yes. That's it exactly.

Q. Can we record at investigation of the disciplinary instead of taking notes? Can we record what people are saying?

Scott: I've got a got a question just come in here Seamus. Can we record at investigation of the disciplinary instead of taking notes? Can we record what people are saying?

Seamus: You can record provided that you've got consent of the other party. So, I mean a lot of people do that, record it and they have it typed it up and transcribed. Certainly it's a very accurate way of dealing with it. But just under data protection, you need to have the consent of the employee if you're intending to record and to make sure that they're happy that there was a recording available and that you provide it to them.

Q. Should you summarize the evidence that's used at the disciplinary hearing to rationalize your decision to uphold the allegations or should you just say, "We've looked at all this stuff and you're dismissed."

Scott: Okay. Well, we've maybe got time for one more question then we're going to wrap up. But if you have other questions you want to send in, please do that. The last one here is just at the end of the period. Should you summarize the evidence that's used at the disciplinary hearing to rationalize your decision to uphold the allegations or should you just say, "We've looked at all this stuff and you're dismissed."

Seamus: What I tend to do in terms of my advice is for clients is that I . . . in the dismissal letter I think it's a bit of an error just to simply say in the dismissal letter, we've considered everything you've said and you're dismissed. In the dismissal letter you should be set like the reasons for the dismissal. I'm not meaning that you are saying and we find you're guilty of the allegation and here's the reason why. Or you could be send referring to specific evidence itself.

I think that you've fallen into a bit of a bad habit and bad trap if you're simply writing to the employer at the end if it's saying you're dismissed. I would definitely set a note within the outcome letter the reasons and the rationalizations as to why. Certainly as to why ever arrived at such a serious decision. And also, it helps the person in terms of appeal. To give them a fair shot at appealing, they need to understand the reasons as to why you've dismissed me.

Scott: Why you've actually put them off appealing if they know the reason and the evidence you've . . . so, okay.

Well, thank you very much Seamus McGranaghan of O'Reilly Stewart. Thank you very much to all of you for listening. I've been Scott Alexander. We have a series of three webinars coming up in January. Obviously, there's O'Reilly Stewart's on the 5th January we'll move into the Friday at 11:00am.

We also have Mark McAllister who will be doing his review of the year along with me on 10th January (register here:

And we have a special one-off with the Employers For Childcare on 22nd January (register here: We'll be looking at the abolition of the child care venture scheme. From April next year we'll doing that on the 22nd of January. So if you like these webinars, you want to join us next season that will be great.

In the meantime, it's Merry Christmas and Happy New Year when it comes from me and Seamus to you everyone.


This article is correct at 13/12/2017

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Seamus McGranaghan
O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors

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