First Tuesday Q&A

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

One of my employees has alleged that their line manager is sexually harassing them. How should employers approach this issue?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/05/2017 Whilst it would be important to seek specific legal advice in respect of this matter, there are a number of general principles which should be considered. The first priority is to establish the facts, regardless of whether you have a harassment policy. You should appoint a suitable person, who is n...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Discrimination and Equality

Can an individual who gives evidence during a workplace investigation request anonymity? 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/03/2017 If the witness asks to remain anonymous, you should explore the reason for this request and any underlying motive. There are a number of reasons why someone may request anonymity: they may genuinely be fearful of violence or other repercussions or simply may not want to be seen as a 'snitch'. You s...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Where an employer is carrying out a disciplinary investigation into an employee’s misconduct at work, what are the implications if the police become involved?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/03/2017 The initiation of criminal proceedings and police involvement can have certain implications in terms of how a workplace investigation is carried out. It is important to note that an employer must generally make its own enquires despite the commencement of a police investigation. The employer cannot...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Can audio recordings be used as evidence in a tribunal hearing or should notes be taken when carrying out a workplace investigation?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/02/2017 The use of an audio recording device should generally only be employed if your policy specifically allows for this, or with the agreement of the interviewee. However, we would generally advise that recording a meeting may be intimidating to the interviewee and can, as result, make them less willing...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

What role should HR play in a disciplinary investigation?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/02/2017 HR personnel will frequently be called upon to provide support and guidance to decision makers during disciplinary investigations. Whilst this is certainly an important function, persons working in HR should be mindful of the limitations of their role and their influence during such investigations....
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Our policy does not permit a solicitor to attend a disciplinary hearing. Only a colleague or trade union representative may attend. Is this lawful?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/02/2017 There is no general right under Northern Irish law for an employee to have a legal representative at a disciplinary hearing, however, some employees (for example, NHS hospital doctors) may have a right under their contracts of employment (as was the case in Kulkarni v Milton Keynes Hospital Foundat...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

It has come to our attention that an employee has made derogatory comments about their manager on social media. The individual’s 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 03/01/2017 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

If employees go to a bar after an official workplace social event and have an argument, should the altercation be considered a workplace issue and are the company liable for any injuries caused?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/01/2017 The conduct of employees at out of office events and parties can be a difficult issue for employers to address. Employers can be vicariously liable for the conduct of their employees out of office, especially if employees are attending events in the course of their employment. The key issue for emp...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Health and Safety

If an employee raises a grievance during a disciplinary process should we run the matters concurrently or must we suspend the disciplinary procedure to investigate the grievance?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/12/2016 Employees often submit grievances during disciplinary procedures, either regarding the procedure itself or the circumstances leading up to the initiation of that procedure. The Labour Relations Agency (the “LRA”) Code of Practice guide does not specifically refer to this issue, but the non-statutor...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

If an employee refuses to sign the minutes of a meeting, what precautionary measures can an employer take?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/12/2016 The Labour Relations Agency’s (the “LRA”) Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (the “Code”) emphasises the need to keep written records, including formal minutes of meetings. However, the Code is silent on anything else regarding minutes, including what should be included or ev...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues