First Tuesday Q&A

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

We do not have a handbook, just a USB stick we issue to all managers with policies and procedures. Is this ok?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/11/2015 For the most part, policies set out in a staff handbook are there as a matter of good practice, to set out standard expected of employees, to assist the running of the business, and to reduce legal risk by making sure employees and managers understand the legal rights and responsibilities inherent ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Policies and Procedures

Can redundancy notice be served during maternity leave? For example, can an employer serve a notice of dismissal/redundancy during maternity leave with a date of dismissal after the end of leave period – or is this automatically void and employer must wait until leave is over before issuing a notice?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/11/2015 An employee can be dismissed by reason of redundancy during her maternity leave provided a fair process is followed. However, if an employee is dismissed where the only (or principal) reason for her dismissal or selection is related to pregnancy, birth or maternity leave, the dismissal will be aut...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Redundancy and Reorganisation

If you hire an employee on a 2+ year fixed term contact, are they entitled to redundancy if/when they are dismissed at the end of the contract? Is there any way to avoid this if an entitlement exists?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/11/2015 The non-renewal of a fixed-term contract will be potentially fair by reason of redundancy. The usual "band of reasonable responses" test will apply to whether it was fair to dismiss for that reason, and the usual rules regarding adherence to a fair redundancy procedure must be followed. Employers s...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Redundancy and Reorganisation Contracts of Employment

Are there any restrictions on how long someone can be on a fixed-term contract? How often can you extend?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/11/2015 Under Regulation 8 of the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002, employees who have been continuously employed for four years or more on a series of successive fixed-term contracts are automatically deemed to be permanent employees (that ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment

For how long should we retain interview records?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/11/2015 The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) does not specify any documentation retention periods; Schedule 1, paragraph 5 simply provides that personal data should not be kept for longer than is necessary for the purpose for which it is processed. However, Part 2 of the Information Commissioner's Employment...

I heard about a Northern Ireland whistleblowing case recently where the claimant's case failed because it was not made in good faith. I thought that requirement no longer applied in the UK or Northern Ireland? What is the situation in Northern Ireland? Must a whistle-blower make allegations in good faith or might they be motivated by greed etc?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/10/2015 Whistleblowing in the UK is governed by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (the "PIDA"). In 2013, the UK amended the PIDA by abolishing the requirement that disclosures made under the PIDA must be made in "good faith". This amendment was sparked by a history of legal and practical difficulties...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Whistleblowing (Protected Disclosures)

We have a long-standing manager who, when subjected to a disciplinary due to performance issues, put in a four week sick line for work-related stress. He also lodged a grievance against his relatively new manager. How would you go about resolving this? 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/10/2015 It is important for employers in this kind of situation to treat the employee concerned as they would any other employee who is absent from work due to sickness. Any scheduled disciplinary meetings should also be cancelled in the interim and the employee should be advised of this. As a starting poi...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

If an employee is employed by an ROI company but based in N.I. under whose employment law jurisdiction do they fall for paternity leave for example? Alternatively, if the employee is employed in NI but works in ROI, which level of national minimum wage (NMW) would apply, for example?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/10/2015 The question of the governing law applicable to a particular employment relationship depends on a number of factors.Usually, a contract of employment will contain an express governing law clause which states the applicable law. However, even where a contract of employment includes an express govern...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Working Time and Leave Pay and Conditions of Employment

Do we have to obtain a medical report to confirm whether an employee suffering from stress is fit to attend a disciplinary hearing related to his alleged misconduct?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 This is a common issue for employers. If you are concerned that the disciplinary hearing may add to the employee’s stress or anxiety, medical advice may be obtained as to whether the employee is fit to attend a disciplinary hearing, and if not, when they might be. The employee’s consent to medical ...