NI Essentials of Employment Law

NI Essentials of Employment Law


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The Essentials of Northern Irish Employment Law online course is specifically designed to give attendees a thorough grounding in the main components of Northern Irish employment law.  With so many changes taking place in today’s workplaces, including hybrid and remote working, an understanding of core employment laws is now more important than ever before.

This is an interactive 2 x half day online event, delivered by a team of highly experienced employment law experts. The sessions will be supported by a comprehensive pack of notes on Northern Irish employment law as well as a number of practical exercises throughout the sessions to help enforce learning.  The online sessions will also be complemented with access to a number of additional e-learning programmes aimed to help supplement attendees’ understanding of Employment Laws in Northern Ireland. 

What are the learning outcomes?

By the end of this course attendees will:

  • Have a basic understanding of the key points and principles of employment law in NI and will ‘know what they don’t know’.
  • Understand the importance of seeking HR guidance at the appropriate time.
  • 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?

  1. Basics of an employment contracts (including the implications of implied terms)
  2. Working Time and Leave
  3. Disciplinary procedures and performance management
  4. Fair and unfair dismissals (including Employment Tribunal basics)
  5. Grievances
  6. Protected disclosures (whistleblowing)
  7. Equality & Dignity at work

Who is this course for?

Managers, Supervisors, Team Leaders, HR Professionals, Business Owners, Trade Union Representatives and Employee Representatives.

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
  • GDPR/Data Protection in the Workplace
  • Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace



 DAY 1: Christine Swail


Welcome & Introduction
Today’s sessions will be lead 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;
  • draftinga disciplinary invitation letter;
  • conducting the disciplinary meeting;
  • deciding on 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 BL


Welcome back & Introduction

Eva Toal, Legal Island

Today’s sessions will be lead 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 workplace – ‘banter’ 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





  • 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: Tuesday 20 June and Wednesday 21 June 2023


20 June 2023


Online - zoom


Price: £395