First Tuesday Q&A

The claimant was dismissed by reason of gross misconduct and in particular.

We have an employee out on maternity leave and her contract states she is entitled to a performance related bonus. Should this be awarded on a pro rata basis given that she has been on maternity leave for a significant period of the year or is her leave deemed to be 'protected' because she is on maternity leave and therefore entitled to the full bonus payment?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/02/2016 In general, a contractual bonus cannot be withheld by an employer unless the criteria set out from the outset in relation to being awarded a bonus have not been met. Once the employee has satisfied the criteria, the employee is entitled to payment of the bonus and it subsequently forms part of his/...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Working Time Pay

My query relates to whether an employer is required to credit an employee for Bank/Public Holidays on top of their annual leave allowance while on maternity leave?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/02/2016 Calculating annual leave entitlement in cases of maternity leave can cause considerable difficulties for employers. As a starting point, employers should always check their contracts of employment, together with any policies dealing with annual leave and/ or maternity. Do they state that employees ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Working Time Pay

In setting down a retirement age in a contract of employment, should you include the objective grounds for the retirement age in order to try to manage expectations or are you just tying your hands for the future? What would you advise?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/01/2016 Retirement clauses should only be used where the employer can objectively justify compulsory retirement of employees, and in fact are not even necessary in those situations, since termination on notice may be preferable to automatic termination.Although clauses such as this were fairly common in th...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Redundancy Discrimination and Equality Contracts of Employment

In setting down a retirement age in a contract of employment, should you include the objective grounds for the retirement age in order to try to manage expectations or are you just tying your hands for the future? What would you advise?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/12/2015 Although compulsory retirement clauses were once common features in contracts of employment, their current use is rare following the abolition of the default retirement age. Compulsory retirement is now potentially unlawful age discrimination, and should only be used where the employer can objectiv...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality

I have a query in relation to an employee of the Muslim faith who uses the staff canteen to pray during working hours. The canteen space is limited and this activity is now causing difficulty for other staff who may have a scheduled break at the same time. What is the responsibility of the employer to accommodate staff who wish to practice their faith during work hours?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/07/2015 It is as unlawful to discriminate against a person for holding a particular (or any) religious or philosophical belief, as it is to discriminate against someone for not holding a religious or philosophical belief. Employers should adopt good practice measures to ensure that such persons are not put...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Working Time

Is it right that obesity is a disability and that I have to provide extra wide chairs etc for obese employees?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/01/2015 It can be, according to the recent decision of the European Court of Justice in FOA (Kaltoft) v Billund. Mr Kaltoft was a clinically-obese child-minder for a local council in Denmark. He was dismissed due to redundancy; he alleged that obesity was a factor and brought proceedings. The District Cour...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality

Where underperformance involves a disability, how far do you have to go to try to get the person up to 'normal' performance?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/11/2014 Where underperformance is caused or exacerbated by a disability, employers need to be mindful of the possibility of both an unfair dismissal and/or disability discrimination claim. To help reduce the risk of a disability discrimination claim, the employer should consider what reasonable adjustments...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discipline and Grievance Discrimination and Equality

How many chances do you have to give a persistent "offender" where disciplinary matters are concerned?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/11/2014 It seems this employee has committed misconduct on quite a number of occasions. Rather than allowing this to continue, giving him/her chances to improve, it is preferable to deal with the misconduct under a disciplinary procedure. Formal disciplinary action taken under the procedure usually involve...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discipline and Grievance Discrimination and Equality

Does dismissal for absences due to post-natal depression arising after maternity leave amount to sex and/or pregnancy and maternity discrimination?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/08/2014 Under Article 5A of the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976, pregnancy discrimination occurs where an employer treats an employee unfavourably because of her pregnancy or because of an illness she has suffered as a result of her pregnancy during the “protected period” i.e. from the beg...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Dismissal Absence and Sickness Discrimination and Equality Working Time

What are the legal requirements when providing references, what are we obliged to do?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/03/2014 There is strictly speaking no legal obligation on an employer to provide a reference for an employee or ex-employee and employers are therefore generally entitled to refuse to provide a reference. There are however some limited exceptions to this general rule, such as: 1. Discrimination: Failure to...