First Tuesday Q&A

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

Can an employer recoup maternity pay if an employee does not return for 6 month’s work after the maternity leave ends?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/10/2014 The answer depends on whether the employee is paid contractual maternity pay over and above the statutory minimum entitlement. You cannot recoup any statutory maternity pay if the employee has not returned. If you offer a contractual rate of maternity pay over the statutory minimum rate, then, in p...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment Working Time Policies and Procedures

We recently had an employee whom we caught abusing our internet policy. We allowed him to resign rather than go through the disciplinary process, which we thought would inevitably lead to dismissal, given the seriousness of the wrong-doing and the strength of evidence. However, a HR colleague from another location said we have left our employer open to an unfair dismissal challenge. Could you please advise?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/08/2014 It is not uncommon for employees to resign in the face of potential dismissal and employers often prefer this option in order to avoid the time and expense of a dismissal leading to a dispute or litigation, which can of course happen regardless of whether the dismissal was fair. However, employers ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Dismissal Discipline Policies and Procedures

One of our employees has recently taken up a second job to help with his finances. This is having a detrimental effect on his performance level at work with us. What can we do about this?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/07/2014 During the recession, many employees took on second jobs to fill in the gaps caused by salary freezes and loss of overtime. You haven’t indicated how long this additional job has been affecting the employee’s performance but I would suggest in the first instance an informal approach to address the ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discipline Policies and Procedures

What is the latest advice when it comes to disciplinary investigations? Is it best to separate the role of investigator from decision-maker at the disciplinary hearing? Our procedures are silent on this – are we likely to come unstuck at a tribunal of the person who carried out an investigation also convenes a formal meeting that might lead to dismissal etc?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/07/2014 Once the decision is taken that an investigation is required, the employer needs to consider who should conduct the investigation. In most cases, the employee's immediate line manager will be the appropriate person.Sometimes the employer's own procedure (which may be contractual) stipulates who is ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discipline Policies and Procedures

Technology is advancing at a serious rate. Do employers just have to accept that we live in an age where sessions on social media polices have to form part of an annual in-house training process?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/06/2014 There has been a massive growth in popularity in the use of social media websites in the workplace. Employees regularly blog, tweet and access sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook blurring the interface between employees' work and personal lives. The use of these social media sites is creating issue...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Policies and Procedures

An employee has a Facebook profile which is public for all to see. The employee added the company where they work on their profile page. They then make very serious racist comments. The posts are brought to the company’s attention. What action is required?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/12/2013 It is possible for employers to take action against employees who make inappropriate or derogatory comments about fellow employees or their employer on social media sites or where they bring the employer’s reputation into disrepute as the case may here. This is particularly the case where employee ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discipline Discrimination Policies and Procedures

What is the legal status on the use of spying on potential candidates using social media?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/11/2013 According to a recent Microsoft survey, less than 15% of candidates all across the UK believe information which is available on social media affects their chances of securing employment. The same survey, however, showed that 45% of employers in the UK admit to using it regularly and rejecting candi...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination Policies and Procedures Recruitment and Selection

We are intending to amend our employees’ terms and conditions of employment by amending the employees' bonus scheme. We intend to do this through consultation with employees and by seeking their agreement. I read somewhere that changing terms and conditions of employment for a large number of employees can trigger collective consultation and a requirement to inform DEL. I would be grateful for any clarity on this point.

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/09/2013 The main issue here is whether the company envisages dismissing and re-engaging the employees if they do not consent to the changes in the bonus arrangements. Where an employer changes employees' terms through termination and re-engagement, the dismissals would count as redundancies (for the purpos...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Redundancy Collective and Trade Union Issues Policies and Procedures

I have a query regarding the anonymity of complainants/witnesses, particularly relating to disciplinary cases. The original question related to two staff members complaining separately about a work colleague but neither of them wanted to be identified. In summary the answer outlined that the employer should investigate the reasons for the anonymity request and balance the complainant’s right of confidentiality with the accused right to a fair hearing. The answer provided was very helpful, although it was silent on the issue of the Data Protection Act and personal data. Statements given by complainants or witnesses will contain information about the behaviour or actions of another employee and I wondered if that employee has particular rights under DPA (e.g. subject access) to see what has been written about him/her, or does the data belong to the witness/complainant or is there a balance to be considered? I appreciate that all material may be required to be made available at Tribunal, but I am thinking here more of the internal disciplinary process.

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/07/2013 Ideally all witness statements and other documents to be relied on should be made available to the employee before a disciplinary hearing. This helps to give the employee a full picture of the nature of the allegations and the case they have to meet. Obviously, if the employer has given a promise o...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discipline Data Protection and GDPR Policies and Procedures

Should Whistleblowing be added as a new policy to employee handbooks or as an addition to, for example, our Data Protection policy?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/02/2013 The whistleblowing legislation imposes no positive obligations on employers to encourage whistleblowing or to implement a whistleblowing policy. It merely requires them to refrain from dismissing workers because they have made a "protected disclosure" or subjecting them to any other detriment becau...