First Tuesday Q&A

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

We sent a letter to an employee inviting her to a disciplinary hearing. We received a sick note by return, citing ‘stress’. What can we lawfully do to get the hearing underway? We suspect she is trying to avoid the situation – there’s no history of stress on her record.

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/11/2016 Employers must consider two main issues when an employee cites ‘stress’ during a disciplinary process. These have to be considered even if the employer is suspicious over the employee’s claim. The first issue an employer must consider is whether stress, anxiety or a mental health issue could have c...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

One of our employees committed an offence at work two days after a previous warning expired for a similar misdemeanour. Is it lawful to take the old warnings into account? It’s only two days after the expiry of the warning but the hearing might not be able to be held for a couple of weeks, so it will really be 14-16 days after expiry before we can make any decision.

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/11/2016 Whether or not an employer can take account of an expired warning will depend on the employee in question’s contract of employment, the warning letter issued by the employer, and on the company’s disciplinary procedure. If any of these materials stipulate expired warnings cannot be taken into accou...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

We have an employee who failed to attend a disciplinary hearing. May we proceed to consider the matter in his absence? 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/10/2016 The LRA Code, referred to above, provides that when an employee fails to attend a first disciplinary hearing, it is good practice for an employer to re-arrange the hearing to an alternative date and give the employee further notice to attend the re-arranged meeting. If an employee fails to attend a...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Under what circumstances might we grant anonymity to a witness in a disciplinary process and how far should/could we go to protect that anonymity? 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/10/2016 Anonymity can generally be requested in a disciplinary process under any circumstances. However, an employer should take account of the reasons and possible motivations behind a request for anonymity. If anonymity is requested in ordinary disciplinary hearings, employers must make reasonable effort...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

If an employee asks to audio record a disciplinary hearing should we let them do so?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/10/2016 For disciplinary hearings, an important reference for employers generally should be the Labour Relations Agency’s Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. This provides a general guide for both employers and employees on how to conduct disciplinary hearings fairly. The LRA code ma...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures

How do I calculate annual leave entitlement for an employee working 9am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday with a 30-minute lunch break and 9am to 1pm on Saturday with no break? I realise the Working Time Regulations recognise a maximum 5 day week, but in this instance, the working days are not all the same length, therefore the leave must be calculated in hours, so do I include Saturday hours?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/10/2016 In the first instance, you should check the employee’s contract of employment. The contract of employment should stipulate either the amount of leave an employee is to receive or whether or not leave is to be calculated by hours or days worked per week. If an employee works, for example, 41.5 hours...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment Working Time and Leave

We have recently employed someone who is subject to a 6 month probationary period. Can we wait until their probationary period of 6 months has elapsed before auto-enrolling them in our pension scheme?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/09/2016 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 ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Pensions Probation

Is it ever appropriate for an employer to argue frustration of contract, for example, if an employee is given a prison sentence of 3 or more years for an offence that is no way connected with their employment?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/09/2016 Case law confirms that a custodial sentence imposed on an employee is capable of frustrating the contract of employment but whether it does or not depends on the circumstances of the case with the length of the term to be served by the employee being a significant factor to be considered. Tribunals...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment

An employee who works with us handed in her resignation two weeks ago and proceeded to work her required notice period and is currently still in employment. This employee has now reneged and has requested to withdraw her resignation. Does the employer have an obligation to fulfil the employee’s request?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/09/2016 The starting position here is that, once notice has been given (whether orally or in writing), it cannot be unilaterally withdrawn. In order for the resignation to be withdrawn, both parties need to consent to the withdrawal. However, employers should exercise particular caution where an employee h...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment Pay and Conditions of Employment

I work in an organisation which requires all male employees to wear a tie when attending business meetings and conferences on behalf of the company. One of our managers refuses to wear a tie. How should we deal with this?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/09/2016 Dress codes can be a difficult issue for employers, as evidenced by the recent media coverage surrounding the case of a woman who was reportedly sent home from her job as a receptionist for refusing to comply with a dress code requiring her to wear two to four inch heels. It is not clear whether yo...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures