Back to Basics: Employment Law in Northern Ireland

Back to Basics: Employment Law in Northern Ireland

Join us for "Back to Basics - Employment Law in Northern Ireland," a comprehensive online event designed exclusively for HR professionals. This interactive course, spread across two half-days, is an essential deep dive into the critical aspects of Northern Ireland's employment law. In today's dynamic legal landscape, understanding the core of NI-specific employment laws is more crucial than ever.

Delivered by seasoned experts in employment law, this event promises a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application. Attendees will receive a detailed pack of notes on NI employment law, supplemented with practical exercises to reinforce learning. Beyond the live sessions, gain access to a suite of e-learning programmes, further enriching your understanding of Employment Laws in NI.

What are the learning outcomes? 

By the end of this event, attendees will: 

  • Have a clear understanding of the key points and principles of employment law in NI. 
  • Understand the concept of natural justice in disciplinary and grievance procedures. 
  • Understand the importance of following organisational policies and procedures. 
  • Be able to understand and handle common workplace scenarios, having learnt through worked examples. 

What will be covered? 

  • Basics of employment contracts (including the implications of implied terms)  
  • Working Time and Leave  
  • Disciplinary procedures and performance management 
  • Fair and unfair dismissals (including Employment Tribunal basics)
  • Grievances 
  • Protected disclosures (whistleblowing) 
  • Equality & Dignity at work

Additional Learning Aids  

In addition to attending the live sessions with our experts, attendees will have exclusive access to the following e-learning programmes to complete in their own time: 

  • Whistleblowing Awareness in the Workplace 
  • Data Protection in the Workplace 
  • Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

Who is this event for?

Anyone with a need to know the main building blocks of NI employment law including HR Managers, Supervisors, line managers, In-house Lawyers and Legal & HR Advisers. Ideal for those new to employment law or seeking a refresher course.  

This training is not suitable for those with extensive knowledge of NI employment law. 

Why should you attend?

The Back to Basics: Employment Law in Northern Ireland online course is specifically designed to give attendees a thorough grounding in the main components of NI employment lawAn understanding of core NI specific employment laws is more important than ever before.


Day 1: Christine Swail


Welcome & Introduction 

Sarah Carlin, Legal Island 

Today’s sessions will be led by Christine Swail.


Contracts of Employment  

Sources of contract terms: 
  • Legal requirements. 
  • Written contract. 
  • Other documents - letters of offer, statement of particulars and policies. 
  • Collective agreements. 
  • Express and implied terms (including mutual trust & confidence). 
  • Custom and practice. 




Working Time  


Working Time Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016 
  • Working time 
  • Working time limits 
  • Overtime 
  • Rest breaks 
  • Holidays 
  • Working at night 
  • Sunday working 
  • Working time and young workers 
  • Tricky scenarios – breaks between shifts, working through breaks, working outside normal hours, sick while on holiday, untaken leave, public holidays. 

Including 5 mins Q&A 


Comfort Break 


Disciplinary & Performance Management  


Disciplinary theory and practice 
  • The Labour Relations Agency (LRA) Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. 
  • Is discipline the right approach? Should you remain in the informal process or move to the formal procedures?  
  • Managing minor misconduct issues and putting informal corrective action measures into place. 
  • Disciplinary v performance management – which is the correct approach? 
  • Managing absence and sickness. 


Case Study: Understanding how the LRA Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures apply in practice.  

This case study looks at all aspects of the disciplinary process to include:  

  • carrying out an investigation;  

  • drafting a disciplinary invitation letter;  

  • conducting the disciplinary meeting;  

  • deciding on the outcome; and  

  • dealing with the appeal process. 


Screen Break 


Feedback Time 


Workplace Grievances  

Grievance theory and practice 
  • LRA Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. 

  • What is a grievance?  
  • Grievance procedure 
  • Dealing with a grievance – informally and formally. 
  • Notice of a grievance. 
  • Grievance meeting. 
  • Grievance appeal. 
  • Grievance during a disciplinary process – how do I handle it? 
  • Record keeping. 





Day 2: Jason Elliott


Welcome back & Introduction 

Sarah Carlin, Legal Island 

Today’s sessions will be led by Jason Elliott BL


Protected Disclosures (whistleblowing)  



When a grievance is not ‘just’ a grievance 
  • Reasons for whistleblowing protection 
  • Who is protected? 
  • When is a worker protected under the legislation?  
  • Disclosure of information 
  • Qualifying disclosure 
  • Reasonable belief 
  • Method of disclosure 
  • Public interest requirement 
  • No good faith requirement 
  • What are workers protected from? 
  • Claims for whistleblowing 
  • Dealing with whistleblowing in practice 


Scenarios: grievance or whistleblowing? 




Equality Law & Dignity at Work  


Dignity, Fairness, Respect and Equality 
  • The ‘protected characteristics’  
  • Age 
  • Disability 
  • Gender 
  • Race 
  • Religion or belief 
  • Sexual orientation. 
  • Types of discrimination  
  • Direct 
  • Indirect 
  • Victimisation 
  • Harassment (including sectarian) 
  • Liability – individual and employer. 
  • Disability Discrimination and duty to make reasonable adjustments. 
  • Bullying in the Workplace. 


Case Study: Sexual harassment in the workplacebanter or harassment? 



Feedback Time 


Fair and Unfair Dismissals  



Fair v unfair 
  • Contractual issues & breach of contract claims. 
  • Dismissal – potentially fair reasons, unfair, constructive and automatically unfair. 
  • Unfair v wrongful dismissal – what’s the difference? 
  • Issuing a claim – length of service, tribunal time limits, early conciliation, and burden of proof. 


Case study: Is this dismissal fair or unfair? Why? What are the potential costs?             


Feedback time 




"Very informative feel I know a lot more about legislation in Northern Ireland." Kim O 'Callaghan, Senior Employee Relations Manager UK and Ireland, Flutter

"Content explained very well and any questions answered." Paula Quinn, HR Administrator, The Beeches P & T Services Ltd


  • Jason Elliott
    Jason Elliott Lecturer in Law and Barrister
    Ulster University

    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. 

  • Christine Swail
    Christine Swail

    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.

Event details


2 Half Days: 23rd & 24th April 2024


23 April 2024


Online - zoom


Price: £395

Standard charity/ small business rate: £345