First Tuesday Q&A

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

Must an employee on suspension while a disciplinary investigation is carried out remain available for work, or can they take a holiday during this period?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 During a period of suspension, the employee, while not required to attend work, should remain available to assist in the disciplinary investigation, attend investigation or disciplinary meetings, or deal with any work-related questions. Further, if the suspension is lifted earlier than anticipated,...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Working Time and Leave

It has come to the attention of the company that an employee has put on Facebook derogatory comments about their manager. The Facebook page is set to private; however, a colleague who is a friend on Facebook viewed the comment and informed management and would like to be kept anonymous. How can HR approach this situation?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 Recent case law has demonstrated that employers can find it difficult to deal with alleged misconduct involving an employee's use of social media sites such as Facebook. The first difficulty for employers is how this specific type of misconduct is characterised, for example, whether the misconduct ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures

We have a query regarding workplace investigations and fairness of procedure. If an investigation is carried out by two investigation officers and they report to an investigation manager can that manager hear the case if he agrees there is a case to answer or must we refer it to a new manager to chair a disciplinary panel?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 If possible, you should refer it to someone independent at the disciplinary stage. The Labour Relations Agency’s Code of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures states that where possible, it is important to ensure that the individual holding the disciplinary hearing is not the person who conducted the...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures

Can we offer employees a car allowance where previously we provided a company car?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 Assuming that your company cars are provided as a contractual benefit, moving employees on to a car allowance can be done, but it is not simply a matter of providing the requisite notice. In broad terms, you must first establish whether there is a power in your contracts of employment to vary speci...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment

Can an employee refuse to log on to Facebook via shoulder surfing?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 Looking generally at this very topical area, being the use of social media in the workplace, a string of recent cases have provided a potent reminder of the perils of posting about your workplace or colleagues, especially where this is in clear breach of your employer’s social media policy. What ha...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Act Policies and Procedures

Is there anything to stop employees bringing two reps into a hearing?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 In relation to the right for an employee to be accompanied at a disciplinary/grievance meeting, the legislation states “the employer must permit the worker to be accompanied at the hearing by one companion”. Therefore, there is no statutory requirement for the employer to accept more than one emplo...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

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

We are currently undertaking a recruitment drive. Can we check up on applicants’ online profiles before deciding whom to appoint?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 There is nothing in law preventing an employer from looking at publicly available material before offering an individual a job, however doing so can leave the employer open to potential claims of discrimination. Given the types of information typically found on blogs or social networking websites, ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Recruitment and Selection

We are in the process of tendering a currently out-sourced service, and have reason to believe that the incumbent is manipulating the list of TUPE eligible staff (to exaggerate its size) in order to deter other bidders from successfully bidding. Is there any legal precedent for action in cases like this?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/08/2015 This is sometimes referred to as “employee dumping” and seems to be a common feature of second or subsequent generation outsourcing. If you do not have a contractual obligation that you can pin on the outgoing supplier requiring it to provide accurate and up to date information about the transferri...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Transfer of Undertaking (TUPE)

For new employees joining a company, can we wait until their probationary period of 6-months has been completed before auto-enrolling them in the pension scheme?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/08/2015 Employers can postpone auto-enrolment for a period of up to 3 months to delay the enrolment of a new probationary employee. The maximum deferment is 3 months, and so it will not cover the whole of any extended probationary period. A new employee must therefore be auto-enrolled after the deferred pe...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Pensions Probation