First Tuesday Q&A

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

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

An employee has issued an appeal outside our time limits in the disciplinary procedure. May we reject his appeal on the ground that it is too late or might this be held against us if he pursues a legal claim?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/11/2016 If an employee has received a disciplinary warning, they have the right to appeal the employer’s decision. Employer’s should explain this right to appeal in writing and should stipulate any deadlines for making an appeal. This is usually around five working days. Employers should consider all the s...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

We have caught two employees slacking at work. Can we run the disciplinary hearings together as one and must we give them the same penalties, assuming both are found guilty?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/11/2016 If an employer wants to carry out a joint disciplinary hearing, certain safeguards would need to be met to ensure neither employee is prejudiced by this. For example, there could be a risk of acting unfairly if the employer hears and decides employee A’s case before hearing all the evidence in empl...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

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