Annual Review of Employment Law 2021

Annual Review of Employment Law 2021

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2021 has been another challenging year for HR professionals throughout Northern Ireland and beyond.

There is no certainty anymore in what is asked of HR professionals – it’s not just the ‘normal’ unforeseen employee relations matters and crisis management that arise on an ad hoc basis and demand your attention and expertise, whilst the ‘day to day’ processes and procedures of recruitment, retention, engagement, performance management, health and wellbeing and myriad HR transactional matters continue on a daily basis. 

We now have the fall-out from the Covid pandemic and its resultant impact on work, workplaces and the workforce. And now we have to deal with competing interests between employers who want people to return to work for a variety of reasons and many employees who wish to work from home or on a hybrid basis. Oh, and we have a massive skills shortage. And a pingdemic, with all the uncertainty that brings for staffing levels. We really are in the middle of a perfect storm. 

On top of all that, there have been some important employment law developments this year, for example, important case law decisions on the gig economy; Brexit and the Irish Protocol; a widening gulf between NI and GB employment laws; and much more. How do you keep up to date? Join us…

Legal Island's flagship Annual Review of Employment Law 2021 conference, with our expert speakers, detailed notes, templates and precedents will cover all of the important developments that HR professionals in Northern Ireland need to know and understand. 

The conference will take place via our online browser-based platform Hopin over TWO DAYS on Wednesday 10 & Thursday 11 November 2021 (with a special bonus TBC!).

How will you benefit from attending?

  • Minimise your organisation’s risk of litigation.
  • Understand how the relevant new cases from Northern Ireland, Great Britain and Europe impact on your workplace.
  • Prepare for the year ahead.
  • Update your policies with the useful templates and precedent wording for key areas in your organisation – sent to you by email after the event.
  • Refer to all important legislative and case law changes which are relevant to your workplace, with comprehensive digital notes.
  • Access to every single session!

Up to 13 hours of CPD hours are available from this event – this would include all missed recordings being watched afterwards and Q&As. Please note, this is the maximum available and your hours will depend on your activity during and after the event.

Listen to Noeleen Farnan, HR Consultant & Founder of Business Primis, explain why she attends every year and how she found the online experience in 2020.

In addition to a world-class learning experience in the convenience of your home or office, you’ll get:
















When and Where?

This event will take place online on the Hopin platform between 9.15am and 4.15pm on Wednesday 10 & Thursday 11 November 2021.  


Standard Rate: £455 +VAT
Standard Charity/Small Business Rate: £365 +VAT


Trusted by organisatons such as:

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This event will be hosted on a browser based platform named Hopin.  We have provided some information below to assist you when accessing the event:-

  • If you are using a Laptop. PC or Apple Mac please use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers
  • The latest version of Edge may be used as long as all recent updates have been made within the last 4 weeks
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We understand that some IT policies may restrict the downloading of new browsers, please check and if this is the case you may have to use your own personal device to access the event.

If you would like further information regarding the above, please contact us at and we will be happy to discuss with you further.

Sponsored by:

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Day 1: 10 November 2021





Get to Know Us: Familiarise yourself with the functions of our online event to ensure you maximise return on your investment. Scott Alexander, Head of Learning & Development, Legal Island, welcomes delegates to our 2021 event.


Introduction and Welcome: Chairs, Seònaid Ó Murchadha, Disability Consultant & Founder of Bionic Woman, and Becky Jones, In-House Global Employment Counsel, Citco, discuss the options for you to look forward to on the first day of our conference.


Review of the Year (Part 1 – 2021 – Looking Back)

Mark McAllister, Director of Employment Relations Services, LRA


Q&A with Mark McAllister 


Networking and Refreshment Break


Brexit and the Irish Protocol: The Impact on Employment Rights

Ciara Fulton, Partner, Lewis Silkin (NI) L.L.P

Workplace Domestic Violence Policy

Susan Walker, Business Engagement Manager at Allstate NI, and Jacqui Kennedy, Director of HR and Organisational Development, Belfast HSCT



Q&A with Ciara Fulton

Q&A with Susan Walker and Jacqui Kennedy


Networking and Comfort Break – Send in your questions for the roundtable discussions


Roundtable Discussion: Philosophically Speaking, You’re Sacked

This panel discussion is led by Emer Hinphey, Managing Partner, Think People, and includes Paul Gillen, Partner, Pinsent Masons LLP, Mary Kitson, Senior Legal Officer, Equality Commission NI and Peter Daly, Partner, Doyle Clayton.

Roundtable Discussion: Necessary Workplace Conversations: Pregnancy Loss and Other Sources of Grief

Top coach and trainer, Michelle Halloran of HRM Services, leads this emotional and uplifting panel session. Michelle is joined by Jayne Gallagher, MD of Legal Island, and Olga Pollock, HR Manager, Firmus Energy


Lunch and Networking


Welcome Back and Summary. Introduction to Afternoon Sessions


The Legal Aspects of Hybrid Working and How to Minimise Employer’s Liability

Gareth Walls, Partner, A&L Goodbody 

Understanding Long Covid: An Employer’s Response

Stuart Nottingham, Director, Sun Rehabilitation

Watch Session Spotlight


Networking & Comfort Break – Send in Your Questions


Contractors v Employees Gig Economy and Worker Status

Adrienne Brock, Managing Partner & Head of Employment, Elliott Duffy Garrett. 

How Far Are We Falling Behind? Understanding the Growing Gulf Between NI and GB Employment Laws

Adam Brett, Partner, Lewis Silkin (NI) L.L.P


Q&A with Gareth Walls and Adrienne Brock

Q&A with Stuart Nottingham & Adam Brett


Managing Workplace Disputes 

Christine Swail, Director & Co-Founder, People Management Solutions 

Employee Data Subject Access Requests: Updated ICO Guidance

Laura Gillespie, Partner, Pinsent Masons LLP


Q&A with Christine Swail

Q&A with Laura Gillespie


Summary and Close with Becky Jones & Seònaid Ó Murchadha, 


First Day of Conference Closes


Day 2: 11 November 2021





Welcome back: To ensure you maximise return on your investment, Scott Alexander, Head of Learning & Development, Legal Island, discusses key lessons from yesterday’s sessions.


Introduction and Welcome: Chairs, Becky Jones, and Sam Davidson, Director of HR, Henderson Group discusses the options for you to look forward to on the second day of our conference.


The Northern Ireland Case Review 2021 and Key Next Steps

Jason Elliott BL


Q&A with Jason Elliott BL


Networking and Refreshment Break


Who picks up the tab? Vicarious Liability for Employers in Staff Activities Outside Work

Louise McAloon, Partner, Worthingtons Solicitors

Boosting your Working Parents’ Wellbeing and Resilience

Rolanda Markey, Legal Island is joined by Caroline van der Feltz, HR Director, Danske Bank, Lisa Thompson, Head of People Services, Danske Bank, and Orla McGarry, Head of People Experience & Employer Brand, Deloitte.



Q&A with Louise McAloon

Q&A with Caroline van der Feltz, Lisa Thompson & Orla McGarry


Networking and Comfort Break – Send in your questions for the roundtable discussions


Roundtable Discussion: How Long is the Working Week? Spoiler Alert – it’s Four Days in Future. 

Joe O’Connor, Chairperson of Four Day Week Ireland, leads this panel discussion on what appears to be an idea whose time has come. Panellists include Margaret Cox, Owner & Director of ICE Group, Christine Crawford, Senior HR Consultant at Willis and Michelle Murphy, Head of Operations & HR, JMK Solicitors

Roundtable Discussion: Transitioning to a hybrid model - How to navigate complexities, make and communicate decisions and arrive at the right destination… 

These and other questions are answered by our panel, led by Kevin Empey, Founder and Managing Director of WorkMatters. Panellists include Sarah Balmforth, HR Director at Hughes Insurance, Jill Michael, Talent Manager, A&L Goodbody, & Gordon Milligan, Chair of the LRA and Deputy Group CEO at Translink and Chair IoD Northern Ireland.


Lunch and Networking


Welcome Back and Summary. Introduction to Afternoon Sessions


Long Term Absence and the Law

Seamus McGranaghan, Director, O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors

Watch Session Spotlight

Right to Work Checks and Lawful Employment Requirements

Lisa Bryson, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland



Q&A with Seamus McGranaghan

Q&A with Lisa Bryson


Networking & Comfort Break


Review of the Year (Part 2 – Looking Forward to 2022)

Mark McAllister, Director of Employment Relations Services, LRA


Q&A with Mark McAllister


Summary and Close with Becky Jones & Sam Davidson


Conference Closes



"Excellent event and having it online was actually much better and more interactive than usual for me as I was able to direct message and have my questions answered. The digital learning pack will be invaluable! It was like 2 days of HR Therapy! Fabulous event!"
Noeleen Farnan, Director, Business Primis

"I wanted to congratulate the Legal Island team on an amazing virtual experience- It has been the best virtual event I have been to, the technology you used worked fantastically, and I loved the tone of the whole event."
Chris Lillie, Group HR Director, The SHS Group

"Speakers were excellent and covered a great amount. I found this experience very good and would hope that in future conferences etc could carry on in this format so save time and travel."
Evelyn Scott, Finance Manager, Causeway & Mid Ulster Women's Aid

"As the presenter was on a screen in front of you it was easier to focus on what they were presenting. All presenters were very engaging"
Orlagh Johnston, HR Manager, ABP UK

"All the sessions were informative and could be viewed from the comfort of my own home."
Kerri Bradley, HR Director, Cleaver Fulton Rankin

"Accessible from home. Great content and great presenters. Very engaging."
Hazel McKay, HR Advisor, EP Kilroot & EP Ballylumford

"So informative and well organised"
Felicity Townley, HR Manager, Wilson Nesbitt Solicitors

"An excellent session. Louise's sessions are always really enjoyable and her practical approach to difficult workplace situations is so refreshing.
Louise Fitzsimons, HR Manager, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

"Really enjoyed the two days. Lots of relevant information /guidance for HR Managers and what a great digital platform! Well done all at Legal Island."
Jacqui Dornan, Fusion Heating

"The online event was excellent as an alternative to the face to face conference. Lots of information and great resources provided as always. Glad we get the chance to hear see the sessions that we missed - as sometimes it's hard to decide which one to attend."
Elaine Di Lucia, HR Manager, Victim Support NI


  • Becky Jones
    Becky Jones In-House Global Employment Counsel

    Becky is In-House Global Employment Counsel at Citco. Becky’s primary objective in Citco to provide counsel to senior leaders on employment related legal issues, policies and procedures influenced by domestic and international employment legislation. As part of the CITCO’s HR team Becky has a global consultancy role, with responsibility for designing, coordinating and communicating the implementation of best in class employee relations practices across Citco offices.  She is also responsible for driving Diversity & Inclusion and best employment practices across the company.

    Previously Becky worked in FMCG as Legal Director, Compliance Officer and a member of senior management teams for Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland and also Regional Legal Counsel for Diageo Ireland providing practical commercial legal solutions for the entire business as well as pioneering new technological solutions and creating diversity and inclusion networks.  She is passionate about personal development and is a coach and mentor to a number of people.  She regularly speaks about D&I matters including mental health and resilience as well as providing training on a variety of legal topics.

  • Seònaid Ó Murchadha
    Seònaid Ó Murchadha Disability Consultant & Trainer
    Founder of Amputee Disability Federation Ireland

    Founder of Amputee Disability Federation Ireland, Seònaid Ó Murchadha (pronounced ‘Show-nid Oh Muraku’) has been promoting the employment of disabled people for more than two decades, regularly contributing pieces across news media, Irish national radio, and television.

    With certification from the International Disability Management Standards Council as well as recognition from the Canadian National Institute of Disability Management & Research (NIDMAR), she helps organisations embrace disability and difference by providing creative solutions to disability inclusion at work, facilitating inclusive recruitment processes, and advising on policy. She also represents the Independent Living Movement Ireland on employment issues at government level and was honoured to be elected to their board of directors last year. She currently lectures at Maynooth University on Disability Studies and provides HR support for members of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association.

    Nicknamed the Bionic Business Woman by broadcaster Conall Ó Morain when she received her new bionic arm in 2017, she uses the moniker as her social media handle as it is much easier for others to spell or remember!

  • Sam Davidson
    Sam Davidson Group HR Director
    Henderson Group

    Since graduating from Queen’s University, Belfast in 1985, Sam has spent his entire career working within the HR field. Starting in Northern Ireland Electricity, Sam spent five years learning the ropes of what was then ‘personnel management’ as a graduate and during this time helped to set up the first Equal Opportunities unit in the organisation. Sam left NIE to join Nortel Networks, and has acted as HR Business Partner for a number of international business units. Sam joined Henderson group in 2004, as their first Group HR Director, and is still thoroughly enjoying the journey as they continue to grow and become a truly leading organisation within the food sector on the island of Ireland and indeed Great Britain.

  • Mark McAllister
    Mark McAllister Director of Employment Relations Services
    Labour Relations Agency

    Mark McAllister is Director of Employment Relations Services with the LRA and part-time lecturer in Law. He specialises in employment law, dispute prevention and strategic collaborative working in industrial and employment relations. Mark is the former Northern Ireland Convenor of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and the Chair of the NI ICSA Governance Institute. He is an accredited mediator,  a member of the Employment Lawyers’ Group and the Industrial Law Society and is a regular speaker on the employment law circuit and contributor to employment law publications.

  • Ciara Fulton
    Ciara Fulton Partner
    Lewis Silkin NI LLP

    Ciara is a partner in Lewis Silkin’s Employment, Immigration and Reward division based in Belfast where she manages the office and a growing employment team. She is dual qualified and advises on all aspects of employment law in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    Ciara has significant experience of advising clients on all manner of employment issues including complex disciplinary and grievance issues, bullying and harassment matters, equality matters, including equal pay claims, large scale redundancies and reorganisations as well as sensitive executive severances and enforcing restrictive covenants.

    Ciara has particular expertise of advising on NI and ROI cross border matters and employment related litigation in both jurisdictions. She works with a variety of sectors and has particular experience in the construction and infrastructure sector.

  • Emer Hinphey
    Emer Hinphey Partner
    Think People Consulting

    Emer Hinphey is an experienced HR and talent development professional.   In her role as Partner in Think People Consulting, Emer has worked with a range of local and global companies across industry sectors, developing strategy, managing complex HR projects and delivering successful leadership development. 

    Prior to setting up Think People Consulting, Emer worked as HR Manager for AIB International Financial Services and as Head of HR for a Telecommunications company.

  • Paul Gillen
    Paul Gillen Partner
    Pinsent Masons

    Paul Gillen is a Partner in the employment & pensions team at Pinsent Masons LLP. Beginning his career in Human Resource Management, he spent more than 10 years working in a variety of HR roles including retail, construction, civil engineering, manufacturing and distribution.

    Paul is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and is currently vice chair to the Northern Ireland Branch Committee. Paul is a member of the CBI Employment and Skills committee and a Visiting Professor to the School of Law at the University of Ulster.

  • Mary Kitson
    Mary Kitson Senior Legal Officer
    Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

    Mary Kitson is employed by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland as a Senior Legal Officer.  Mary qualified as a solicitor in 1992 and after 1 year working in a commercial law firm joined the Fair Employment Commission in 1993.

    Mary commenced employment with the Equality Commission in 1999.  Her role involves providing advice and assistance to people who believe that they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination and to help the Commission choose appropriate cases to support.

  • Peter Daly
    Peter Daly Partner
    Doyle Clayton

     Peter Daly is a partner at Doyle Clayton Solicitors.  He specialises in claimant litigation and has acted in two of the most prominent philosophical belief cases of recent years: Casamitjana -v- League Against Cruel Sports, which established Ethical Veganism as a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010, and Forstater -v- CGD Europe, which established the same protection for gender critical and gender identity beliefs.  He is currently acting for several gender critical clients pursuing claims of discrimination arising from their beliefs. 

    Peter qualified in 2009, and previously worked at Bindmans LLP and Slater and Gordon Lawyers.  He is recognised in the directories for his work in discrimination and whistleblowing law.  While his work concentrates on employment disputes, he also acts in County Court, High Court, regulatory and specialist tribunals as required. 

  • Gareth Walls
    Gareth Walls Partner
    A&L Goodbody

    Gareth Walls is partner and head of the A&L Goodbody Employment and Incentives team in Northern Ireland. Gareth represents a number of local, national and international brands in business support, strategic workforce planning and tribunal matters. He also has significant experience in corporate immigration, redundancy, re-structuring and TUPE issues. Gareth is an accomplished advocate with particular emphasis on equality matters, unfair dismissal, covenants and injunctive relief in the Employment context, as well as being a CEDR qualified mediator.

  • Adrienne Brock
    Adrienne Brock Partner
    Elliott Duffy Garrett

    Adrienne is a Partner in EDG and the Head of the Employment Law Unit. After graduating from Queen's University, Belfast with an LLB (Hons), Adrienne was admitted as a solicitor in Northern Ireland in 1986.

    Adrienne provides advice and representation in relation to employment law issues, mainly to employer clients, across a wide range of sectors including private, voluntary public and regulated sectors. This includes, in summary, advising in relation to the management of employment and employment related issues from recruitment/selection/appointment to termination of employment, including contracts of employment, policies and procedures, conduct of grievance, harassment and disciplinary procedures, dismissals and compromise agreements.

  • Christine Swail
    Christine Swail Director & Co-Founder
    People Management Solutions

    Christine is Director and Co-Founder of People Management Solutions, an award winning HR Consultancy with offices in Belfast and Dungannon. Christine works with small to medium sized organisations putting best practice HR in place as well as working with larger multi-nationals on specific HR projects and complex workplace disputes.  Christine has worked in HR throughout Ireland for over 25 years with some of the leading and most innovative companies. Key areas of expertise include workplace investigations, mediation, employee relations and HR related training. Christine was recently awarded the CIPD NI HR Consultant of the Year award.

  • Susan Walker
    Susan Walker Business Engagement Manager
    Allstate NI

    Susan is Business Engagement Manager at Allstate NI. Susan is also a member of the Business in the Community's CR Leaders Network. Business in the Community aims to inspire and support business to be a force for good.

  • Jacqui Kennedy
    Jacqui Kennedy Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development
    Belfast Health & Social Care Trust

    Jacqui is the current Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development at Belfast Health & Social Care Trust. Previously she held the role of Co-Director of Human Resources and Assistant Director of Human Resources.

  • Michelle Halloran
    Michelle Halloran Trainer
    Human Resource Management Services

    Michelle Halloran is an experienced Human Resource Management professional providing training and consultancy services to organisations nationwide, in the Public and Private sector. She has spent a long career originally in executive and general management roles, then specialising in Human Resources management in Ireland, the UK and Europe, across various sectors including investment banking, information technology, manufacturing and services plus some time in the public sector, before starting her own HR consultancy business 12 years ago. Her key areas of expertise are in workplace investigations, disciplinary and performance management and employee relations, and the practical application of employment law in a HR context.

  • Jayne Gallagher
    Jayne Gallagher Managing Director
    Legal Island

    A graduate of the University of Edinburgh (MA Business Studies), Jayne is also a Chartered Marketer. After completing her studies, Jayne entered a career in event management, working in Belfast and Glasgow before becoming Event Manager for Legal Island. Within 3 years Jayne was promoted to her existing role of Managing Director leading the company to significant growth and awards such as the successful accreditation of Investors in People Platinum, Mark of Excellence (EFQM), ISO 9001 and the Gold Star Customer Service Award (EFQM).    Jayne is a TedX speaker, has previously sat as Vice Chair on the Board of the Orchardville Society, is a Belfast Board member of the Business Beats Cancer for Cancer Research UK and has coached and mentored through both Business in the Community and Women in Business.

  • Olga Pollock
    Olga Pollock HR Manager
    Firmus Energy

    Olga started her HR career back in 2002 at Administrator level and worked her way up to Human Resources Manager responsible for managing the entire HR life-cycle in a fast-paced tech environment.

    After leaving the software sector Olga worked in the public sector in an interim Employee Relations position before moving to Phoenix Natural Gas as Human Resources Manager responsible for both HR and payroll. Here Olga digitised the recruitment process and created a health and wellbeing strategy among other things.

    Still within the utilities sector, Olga moved to firmus energy as HR Manager in August 2019 where she focuses on  employee engagement through an array of engagement interventions.

  • Stuart Nottingham
    Stuart Nottingham Director
    Sun Rehabilitation

    Stuart is a registered occupational health chartered physiotherapist with over 20 years’ experience in the field of occupational health. He is also an NLP Master Practitioner with a keen interest in Ergonomics, Active working strategies, and Mindfullness in the workplace. Out of work Stuart is a keen cyclist, walker and yogi.

  • Adam Brett
    Adam Brett Partner
    Lewis Silkin NI LLP

    Adam Brett is a Partner in Lewis Silkin NI LLP. For many years Adam jointly headed the litigation department of a major Belfast Commercial Practice, and for the last 20 years he has concentrated increasingly on employment and discrimination matters. Adam has throughout his career advised a wide range of educational and charitable bodies, including Schools, Universities, Colleges, and other educational institutions in relation to employment, student and other concerns.


  • Laura Gillespie
    Laura Gillespie Partner
    Pinsent Masons

    Laura Gillespie is a Partner in the Pinsent Masons Litigation & Regulatory team and heads the Regulatory Compliance team in Northern Ireland, with a particular specialism in data protection and cyber security.  Laura supports clients in managing data protection compliance, including DSARS, policies and international transfers as well as contentious issues such as cyber breaches and compensation claims.  

  • Jason Elliott BL
    Jason Elliott BL BL

    Jason Elliott was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2013 and is the Associate Head of School of Law at Ulster University.  As a practising barrister, he has developed a largely civil practice representing individuals, companies and public bodies in litigation.  This covers a wide range of areas including personal injuries, wills and employment law. In terms of employment law, he has represented both applicants and respondents in the Industrial Tribunal. At Ulster University, Jason lectures extensively on the civil areas of practise such as Equity and Trusts and delivers employment law lectures for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

  • Louise McAloon
    Louise McAloon Partner

    Louise leads and manages the employment department of Worthingtons Solicitors, which is currently the largest employment law practice in Northern Ireland.

    With over 15 years’ experience in employment law, Louise’s knowledge and attention to detail provides an expert and pragmatic approach that her clients value in relation to internal employment issues and employment litigation including Public Interest Disclosure, Equal Pay, Discrimination, Unfair Dismissal and restrictive covenants. One of few practitioners in the jurisdiction to have successfully obtained a Tribunal Costs Order against an opposing party for the maximum statutory amount of £10,000.

  • Joe O'Connor
    Joe O'Connor Director of Campaigning

    Joe O’Connor is a driven and dynamic activist and campaigner, with extensive leadership experience, a passion for social justice and progressive change, and a flair for modern communications.

    He currently works as the Director of Campaigning with Fórsa Trade Union, Ireland’s largest public service union. He is responsible for coordinating Fórsa’s national campaigns, developing and leading a campaigning culture and capacity, and building a greater profile for the union’s concerns and policies.

    Joe is also the chairperson of the Four Day Week Ireland campaign, having coordinated the formation of the coalition in 2019, and the successful launch of a pilot programme and government-funded research project in 2021.


  • Margaret Cox
    Margaret Cox Owner & Director
    ICE Group

    Margaret is a committed leader with unique experience managing a thriving multi-faceted business, she is a passionate advocate for the 4 Day Work Week. With a dual vision to Change Lives and Be Bloody Brilliant, Margaret and ICE Group pioneered the 3 Day Weekend pattern to give back to her hard-working staff, who spend every day striving to upskill, retrain, and place people into their dream careers.

    With 30 years of success in business management and leadership, Margaret also spent 10 years as an elected member of Seanad Eireann, during that time she successfully represented Ireland on European and UN platforms, speaking on IT, E-Business and the Status of Women in Ireland.

  • Michelle Murphy
    Michelle Murphy Head of Operations & HR
    JMK Solicitors

    Michelle qualified as a Solicitor in Northern Ireland in 2007, and worked in both commercial and general practice.  Michelle’s interest in law and business management led her onto the role of Head of Operations and HR with JMK Solicitors in 2010 and additionally with CRASH services since 2017.

    Michelle has responsibility for a collective of team of over 160 in a wide variety of professions within the business. Overseeing all aspects of Human resources, employee wellbeing, benefits, remuneration, recruitment, systems, policy and Health and Safety for the group.

    Michelle has been instrumental in developing a range of workplace strategies including introducing the ‘4 day working week’ and ‘Working in the Sun’ initiatives, putting employee health and wellbeing at the heart of our business.

  • Christine Crawford
    Christine Crawford Senior HR Consultant
    Willis Insurance and Risk Management

    Christine is Senior HR Consultant at Willis Insurance & Risk Management, joining the team in late 2015. Christine has recently undertaken her CIPD Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management.

  • Seamus McGranaghan
    Seamus McGranaghan Director - Commercial
    O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors

    Seamus McGranaghan qualified as a Solicitor in O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors in 2003 and is an experienced Commercial Lawyer dealing with employment, commercial and education cases.

    He has experience in the Industrial Tribunal representing both Claimants and Respondents and has provided seminars in relation to particular areas of employment law. Seamus is the only member of the Education and Law Association in Northern Ireland. He specialises in advising schools and colleges on policy matters, employment issues and student welfare. He is also responsible for the Education Law Quarterly Review.

  • Caroline van der Feltz
    Caroline van der Feltz HR Director
    Danske Bank

    A native of Northern Ireland Caroline has been HR Director for Danske Bank UK since September 2015. Caroline has operated outside of NI for the majority of her career having held senior HR roles within the financial services and FMCG area based out of London. She spent 11 years with the RBS Group working in the payments, retail banking and RBS/Natwest Private Banking area and before moving on was an Executive  HR Director with Private Bank Coutts & Co.  Prior to relocating to Belfast take up her current role with Danske Bank she was a Global HR Director for RB (Reckitt Benckiser) a FTSE 20 FMCG company well known for its Home, Health and Hygiene business with a significant global remit across both developed and developing markets. She now resides in Co Down with her family.

  • Lisa Thompson
    Lisa Thompson Head of People Services
    Danske Bank

    Lisa is Head of People Services for Danske Bank in Northern Ireland. Her role encompasses Remuneration & Benefits, HR Systems, Employment Policy, Industrial Relations and Diversity & Inclusion.  Lisa has previously held HR Business Partner and Head of Resourcing roles and is a Chartered Fellow of CIPD.

    Professionally, she has specialised in various Human Resources roles since graduating from QUB with an MSc in Occupational Psychology. Lisa has worked for various private and public sector organisations across the UK over the last 20 years, settling back in Northern Ireland in 2012 to focus on balancing work with family life.

  • Orla McGarry
    Orla McGarry Head of People Experience & Employer Brand
    Deloitte UK

    Orla has had a varied HR career, from HR Consultancy advising a range of private and public sector businesses on HR strategy development and delivery, to leading in-house HR delivery in Banking and Professional Services. She was Head of Wellbeing and Inclusion for Deloitte Consulting for much of the pandemic, leading the response to ensuring the wellbeing of Deloitte people was a priority. She is now responsible for People Experience and Employer Brand for Deloitte UK, working with the leadership team to deliver an exceptional and distinctive experience for 22,000 people across the UK.

  • Kevin Empey
    Kevin Empey Director

    Kevin has specialised in organization development, leadership development and people strategy for over 25 years.

    With a background in technology and business development, Kevin developed an international career in people consulting and leadership development working across a wide range of organizations, sectors and geographies.

    Before establishing WorkMatters, he founded and led several start-up companies and was a Partner and Director in Willis Towers Watson where he led the firms HR and Talent consulting business in Ireland from 2002 to 2015. He also established the firm’s ‘Future of Work’ offering in Ireland.

  • Sarah Balmforth
    Sarah Balmforth HR Director
    Hughes Insurance

    Sarah is an experienced HR professional, working within HR for over 15 years. Sarah is a Chartered Member of the CIPD and has a BA Hons in Psychology and Postgraduate diploma in Human Resource Management; Sarah is currently HR Director at Hughes Insurance, with responsibility for HR and Learning & Development. She has worked at Hughes Insurance for just over 6 years and her work has primarily focused on Cultural Change, Organisational Development and Employee Experience.

    Sarah's role allows her to work at both a strategic and operational level, partnering with the key leadership team to deliver results through people and culture. Sarah has a passion for getting the right people into the right roles and Hughes is committed to investing in talent and dedicated to attracting and retaining the best people. 

  • Jill Michael
    Jill Michael Talent Manager
    A&L Goodbody

    Jill Michael completed a BA Hons in Human Resource Management at University of Stirling and in 2016 a Level 7 Advanced Award in Employment Law. Jill is an experienced HR professional with over 15 years’ Human Resources experience within the fields of Law, Financial Services, Oil and Gas, and Engineering. Currently at A&L Goodbody she leads the Talent Strategy in NI, working closely with the partnership and their Dublin office with a core focus of development and progression of talent at all levels.


  • Gordon Milligan
    Gordon Milligan Deputy Group CEO

    Gordon was appointed to the position of Deputy Chief Executive in Translink during September 2015.

    Before joining Translink Gordon’s previous experience included executive roles within large global organisations including Bombardier Aerospace, Nortel Networks and Dunbia.

    Gordon was appointed Chair of the Institute of Directors NI in April 2018 and Chair of the Labour Relations Agency in May 2021. He has served on Boards within both the private and public sector.

    He has an MBA, is a Fellow of IoD, Chartered Fellow of CIPD and is a Visiting Professor at the Ulster University Business School.

  • Lisa Bryson
    Lisa Bryson Partner
    Eversheds Sutherland

    Lisa is a partner in the employment and immigration team of Eversheds Sutherland.  Lisa trained and qualified with Eversheds LLP (as was then) in Nottingham and London before moving back ‘home’ in 2009.  She has led the employment and immigration practice in Northern Ireland since re-joining the firm in 2017.

    Lisa has considerable experience of providing contentious and non-contentious employment law advice to private and public sector clients.   She specialises in restructuring and TUPE work, major change programmes, executive matters and severances and Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunal litigation.  Lisa is an experienced Tribunal advocate and has appeared in numerous hearings both in Northern Ireland and England.  Lisa advises clients across a broad range of sectors with a particular interest in the financial and professional services, retail, media and telecommunications, transport and logistics and manufacturing sectors.

Event details


2 Days; 10 & 11 November


10 November 2021




Standard Rate: £455 +VAT
Standard Charity/Small Business Rate: £365 +VAT