First Tuesday Q&A

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

An employee has said that they are stressed and has asked for a reasonable adjustment to be made, for example, time off. Do we have to facilitate this?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/02/2018 The first step that an employer must take is to ascertain if the employee is suffering from a disability for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. It would be prudent to seek advice from occupational health on this issue. If occupational health confirm that the employee does suffe...

Although Gender Pay Gap (“GPG”) reporting will seemingly not be required until Stormont is up and running, are there any steps that businesses can take in the meantime? What are the key differences between GPG reporting in NI and GB?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/02/2018 Gender Pay Gap (“GPG”) reporting is provided for under the Employment Act (NI) 2016, but cannot be enacted until local government recommences. Last month, the Equality Commission called for GPG reporting to be extended to NI as a matter of urgency. Although the NI GPG reporting regulations are stil...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Contracts of Employment Pay and Conditions of Employment

Is compensation awarded for injury to feelings on the increase? Is there any practical advice that can be given in taking steps to reduce injury to feelings costs?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/02/2018 A recent Court of Appeal decision (Pereira v de Souza v Vinci Construction Ltd [2017]) held that a 10% uplift should apply to awards for injury to feelings. Although this was an English decision, it is persuasive authority for Northern Ireland. The new award bands are now: Lower band: £1,000 - £8...

Can zero hour staff be paid in lieu of untaken holidays? How can we ensure that zero hour staff take their holiday entitlement?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/02/2018 It is not sufficient to pay staff on zero hour contracts in lieu of their holidays. Payment in lieu of accrued but unused holidays can only be made upon termination of employment. The fundamental basis of zero hour contracts is the absence of mutuality of obligation. Therefore, the employer is und...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment Working Time and Leave Pay and Conditions of Employment

Where an employee is subjected to several warnings for minor/major misconduct, when is it appropriate to move to final warning?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/12/2017 It is not clear whether the previous warnings remain live on the employee’s personnel file or detail the acts of misconduct or poor performance committed. Your course of action will largely depend on the contents of your Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. When deciding the appropriate penalty, you ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

We are proposing to engage a consultant but are unsure as to whether we can include post-termination restrictions as part of the contract. Please confirm whether it is possible to do so?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/12/2017 A consultant can generally be asked to enter into post-termination restrictions. In terms of enforceability, where a consultant and client will be on a more even footing than an employer and employee, the courts are less likely to consider such clauses as an unlawful restraint of trade. The way tha...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment

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

Should the investigating manager generally be different to the manager who sits on the disciplinary panel?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/12/2017 Yes, it is important to ensure that, where practical, the individual holding the disciplinary hearing is not the same person who also conducted the investigation. Otherwise, the decision-maker may not be seen to be impartial. Where an employee has been suspended it is also preferable in a larger or...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Can an employer contact an employee whilst they are signed-off sick by a doctor?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/11/2017 Employers are able to maintain a reasonable amount of contact with an employee who is off on sick leave. This is generally considered best practice for an employer. This contact can be used to obtain regular updates on the employee's recovery and prognosis, and to keep the employee up to date with ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence

Can an employer dismiss an employee while on long-term sickness?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/11/2017 Before considering dismissing an employee while on long-term sickness, an employer must have addressed other options. Employers should generally have obtained medical evidence in relation to the employee’s particular condition, for example, via occupational health. A key consideration for the emplo...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence