First Tuesday Q&A

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

Can I dismiss an employee who refuses to drive a vehicle which has not got a valid MOT certificate?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/02/2020 The standard position is that driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate is prohibited under article 61 of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. However, with the current debacle surrounding cancelled MOT tests in Northern Ireland, the Department for Infrastructure has introduced a...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Can employers treat an employee’s unauthorised absence as their resignation?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/01/2020 In normal circumstances, notice is usually required to terminate a contract of employment. Notice should be given in a clear manner and once validly given it is effective and does not need to be accepted by the other party. If an employee has taken unauthorised absence i.e. gone AWOL, it would be ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Should an internal disciplinary procedure be applied to an employee who is on probation?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/11/2019 The probationary period provides a suitable amount of time to an employer to be able to assess an employee before confirming continued employment. Probationary periods generally last between three to six months. An employee’s contract will usually provide that, during the probationary period, emplo...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

We have a former employee who has claimed unfair dismissal. Our solicitor is arguing that they have failed to mitigate their loss – what does this mean?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/11/2019 Article 76(4) of the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 places a duty upon a claimant to mitigate their losses following dismissal, for example, by making effort to obtain new employment or by claiming state benefits. An employee cannot recover compensation for any part of their loss(e...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal

Can HR challenge the individual’s assertion that it is a whistleblowing complaint at the point the complaint is made or can the complaint be dismissed where we think the complainant is acting in bad faith or may even be lying?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/04/2018 A whistle-blowing complaint is essentially a disclosure about an employer’s malpractice or any type of wrong-doing that the employee believes is genuinely in the public interest. The following types of malpractice are covered: criminal offences; failure to comply with a legal obligation; miscarria...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Whistleblowing (Protected Disclosures)

If terminating during probation is it necessary to follow the statutory dismissal / disciplinary procedures?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/12/2017 It is common for employers to use probationary periods in order to assess an employee’s performance and general suitability for employment. Many employers will choose not to follow the statutory disciplinary / dismissal procedures during a period of probation on the basis that (assuming it is for l...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Discrimination and Equality Probation

If, having given notice of terminating an employee’s contract of employment an employer changes its mind, can it withdraw this notice?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/10/2017 Once notice of termination has been given it cannot be withdrawn unilaterally, whether by the employer or the employee. If an employer changes its mind during the notice period, the notice of dismissal still stands unless the employee agrees that it can be withdrawn. In a situation where there is m...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal

How long can an employee be absent from work due to sickness before being dismissed?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/06/2017 There is no specific 'safe' date or formula which applies, it will all depend on the circumstances of each individual case. It is not how the long the absence was or is, rather what steps the employer has taken to deal with the situation that will determine when it is fair for an employer to dismis...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Sickness and Absence

We have an employee that suffers from age-related macular degeneration. Their performance at work has suffered since their diagnosis and it has now reached the point where they are not doing their job properly. Can we dismiss them?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/04/2017 This is a highly litigious issue and so specific legal advice should be obtained before taking any further steps in respect of the employee in question. By way of general guidance, however, it should be noted that, as well as showing that capability was the reason for dismissal, employers will also...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Sickness and Absence Discrimination and Equality

Like many organisations we may have to reduce staffing costs. Is it lawful to terminate employees on fixed term contracts first or must they always be considered equally with full time permanent staff?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 If an employee’s fixed-term contract expires, without renewal on the same terms as before, or is terminated as in a redundancy situation, the employee will have the same rights to unfair dismissal and redundancy protection as a permanent employee, subject to the usual qualification periods. The emp...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Redundancy and Reorganisation Contracts of Employment