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First Tuesday Q&A

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

Can an employee claim constructive dismissal if a work colleague makes a discriminatory comment to them and the employer fails to discipline the colleague?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/12/2018 Ultimately this will depend on the specific facts of the case but it is important to remember from the outset that it is difficult to successfully make a claim for constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal occurs when an employer breaches an employee’s contract of employment in such a serious ...

Can an employer treat maternity-related absences in the same way as standard sickness absences?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/11/2018 Under the Sex Discrimination (NI) Order 1976, pregnant employees have specific legal rights which regulate their relationship with their employers. It is unlawful pregnancy discrimination to treat an employee less favourably: On the grounds that she is pregnant; For a reason relating to her pregna...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Discrimination and Equality Policies and Procedures

If an employee on maternity leave is made redundant, does her former employer have a continuing obligation to pay her statutory maternity pay?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/11/2018 First and foremost, employers must exercise caution when making an employee who is pregnant or on maternity leave redundant, and ensure that fair and proper procedure is followed. Statutory maternity pay (‘SMP’) is available to a woman who is or has been an employee under section 160 of the Social ...

Can an employer refuse a request for flexible working?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/09/2018 Yes, an employer can refuse a flexible working request if the employee making the request is not entitled to do so. In order to be entitled, an individual must: (a) Be an employee not simply a worker or agency worker; (b) Have a minimum of 26 weeks continuous service; (c) Not have made a fl...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality A-Typical Working Policies and Procedures

How can employers support a growing band of aging workers and avoid age discrimination through their practices and policies?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/09/2018 There are many practices that employers can implement to show support to ageing workers and thus prevent age discrimination. Although age discrimination is well established in statute under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006, there remains an increasing number of age ...

How should we deal with a disabled employee who has frequent short-term absences?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/05/2018 Where absences are due to an employee’s disability, an employer will have to tread very carefully to avoid a claim of disability discrimination under The Disability Discrimination Act 1995. However, we appreciate that frequent absences can be very disruptive to an employer. As a practical step, an ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Discrimination and Equality Policies and Procedures

Please set out key requirements and things that might catch an employer out in relation to maternity leave and maternity rights before and after leave has been taken. 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/04/2018 Maternity rights - before leave is taken Right to time off for ante-natal care All pregnant employees, regardless of length of service, are entitled to a reasonable time off work for antenatal care. This time off must be paid at the normal remuneration rate. Employers should be aware that ante-nata...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Pay and Conditions of Employment

Although Gender Pay Gap (“GPG”) reporting will seemingly not be required until Stormont is up and running, are there any steps that businesses can take in the meantime? What are the key differences between GPG reporting in NI and GB?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/02/2018 Gender Pay Gap (“GPG”) reporting is provided for under the Employment Act (NI) 2016, but cannot be enacted until local government recommences. Last month, the Equality Commission called for GPG reporting to be extended to NI as a matter of urgency. Although the NI GPG reporting regulations are stil...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Contracts of Employment Pay and Conditions of Employment

Is compensation awarded for injury to feelings on the increase? Is there any practical advice that can be given in taking steps to reduce injury to feelings costs?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/02/2018 A recent Court of Appeal decision (Pereira v de Souza v Vinci Construction Ltd [2017]) held that a 10% uplift should apply to awards for injury to feelings. Although this was an English decision, it is persuasive authority for Northern Ireland. The new award bands are now: Lower band: £1,000 - £8...

If terminating during probation is it necessary to follow the statutory dismissal / disciplinary procedures?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/12/2017 It is common for employers to use probationary periods in order to assess an employee’s performance and general suitability for employment. Many employers will choose not to follow the statutory disciplinary / dismissal procedures during a period of probation on the basis that (assuming it is for l...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Discrimination and Equality Probation