First Tuesday Q&A

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

We have a query regarding workplace investigations and fairness of procedure. If an investigation is carried out by two investigation officers and they report to an investigation manager can that manager hear the case if he agrees there is a case to answer or must we refer it to a new manager to chair a disciplinary panel?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 If possible, you should refer it to someone independent at the disciplinary stage. The Labour Relations Agency’s Code of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures states that where possible, it is important to ensure that the individual holding the disciplinary hearing is not the person who conducted the...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures

Is there anything to stop employees bringing two reps into a hearing?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 In relation to the right for an employee to be accompanied at a disciplinary/grievance meeting, the legislation states “the employer must permit the worker to be accompanied at the hearing by one companion”. Therefore, there is no statutory requirement for the employer to accept more than one emplo...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

An employee was suspended on full pay pending the outcome of an investigation process. They immediately send in a sick line. Investigation recommended disciplinary action. Employee is still claiming not fit to attend, GP has said not fit to attend, company doctor says he is. What do we need to be aware of if holding a hearing in absentia?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/07/2015 Where an employee (or their GP) has indicated they are not fit to attend a disciplinary hearing which conflicts with the advice of your company doctor, you might consider obtaining medical advice from an independent doctor such as an occupational health physician. Whilst disciplinary hearings can b...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

An employee has been suspended on full pay due to concerns regarding treatment of patients in a care home. The only proof is three statements from fellow employees that witnessed ill treatment. If the employee is determined she did not do this or act in such manner and it is really the other employees’ word against hers. We are investigating further but what length of time is it appropriate to keep her suspended for and is there an appropriate time scale to make a decision whether to dismiss or not?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/07/2015 There is no set timeframe in terms of how long a suspension should last. Employers should, as a starting point, refer to the principles set out in the Labour Relations Agency Code of Practice on Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures on this matter. In sum, this guidance provides that if a suspens...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Does the full disciplinary procedure need to be exhausted within a probation period i.e. verbal, written etc?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/07/2015 Employers usually want flexibility to dismiss an employee without giving prior warnings during his/her probationary period. The employee is likely not to have qualified for ordinary unfair dismissal rights in any case as probationary periods are usually 3-6 months, whereas the unfair dismissal qual...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Probation

We bought a business earlier this year and TUPE applied to the deal. One of the employees we inherited has just issued a grievance that he is owed thousands of pounds of commission that the old owner did not pay him. The old owner never told us about this. Do we have any comeback?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/06/2015 Firstly, barring certain insolvency situations, the position under TUPE is that all liabilities transfer from old owner to new owner. So, harsh as it seems, you are likely to be on the hook even though this is not your fault. I would then check the terms of any sale and purchase agreement. Very oft...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Transfer of Undertaking (TUPE)

Where an employee is subjected to several warnings for minor/major misconduct, when is it appropriate to move to final general warning?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/06/2015 You do not say whether the previous warnings remain live on the employee’s personnel file or detail the acts of misconduct or poor performance committed. Your course of action will largely depend on the contents of your Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. When deciding the appropriate penalty, you c...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

If an employee refuses to sign minutes of meeting - then what should employer do as precaution?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/05/2015 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 as regards minutes, including what should be included or e...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

We have an employee currently on sick leave with back problems. She has recently posted photos on Facebook showing her socialising and dancing on a night out. These photos have been shared with some of her work colleagues on Facebook and we have been notified. Can we dismiss her for gross misconduct?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/02/2015 Ideally, if you have a sickness absence policy or contractual right requiring the employee to submit to medical examinations when requested, you should take steps to verify the employee's sickness in this way in the first instance. If there is no such policy or requirement, then you may nonetheless...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Disciplinary and Grievance Issues