First Tuesday Q&A

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

Can probation extend beyond 12 months?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/04/2016 A probationary period will be found in most contracts of employment. Broadly, they are an initial trial period during which an employer will assess the suitability of an employee for their positon. They will generally be set for an initial period defined in the contract and the terms of each probat...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment Probation

Can we enforce a contractual retirement age?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/04/2016 Compulsory retirement of employees may potentially amount to unlawful age discrimination. Whether the contractual retirement age in question here can be enforced will depend on whether you are able to objectively justify it as a "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim". This will require...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Contracts of Employment Policies and Procedures

If you have a member of staff leave the company but then re-joins a few months later on a new contract of employment, does the company need to go through a full induction process with them again e.g. Health & Safety, Office Regulations, Data Protection and other company Procedures and Policies as if they never had worked for the company previously?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/02/2016 As a general rule, it is important that all companies, large or small, should have a well-considered induction programme to provide employees with all the information they need before starting the job. The induction programme should reflect the complexity of the job in question and help employees ...

In setting down a retirement age in a contract of employment, should you include the objective grounds for the retirement age in order to try to manage expectations or are you just tying your hands for the future? What would you advise?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/01/2016 Retirement clauses should only be used where the employer can objectively justify compulsory retirement of employees, and in fact are not even necessary in those situations, since termination on notice may be preferable to automatic termination.Although clauses such as this were fairly common in th...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Redundancy and Reorganisation Discrimination and Equality Contracts of Employment

When, if ever, it is 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, can an employer claim frustration rather than have to go through the statutory dismissal procedure using "some other substantial reason" as the potential reason for dismissal?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/12/2015 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:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Contracts of Employment

How can we change the wording in our handbooks?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/12/2015 The key issues when updating (or for that matter creating) a staff handbook are: how contractual terms are distinguished from non-contractual terms; and which parts of the handbook apply only to employees and which will also apply to other workers, for example, agency workers. It is generally rec...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment

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

Can an employer change any policies and procedures within the organisation, without consulting with staff, as long as it is communicated to them afterwards?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 This will depend on whether the policies / procedures in question, or the relevant provisions contained therein, are contractual. Contractual terms can normally only be amended with the employee’s consent. In other words, an employer cannot make a “unilateral” change to such terms. Policies will of...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment 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