First Tuesday Q&A

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

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

An employee with a disabled child has submitted a request for flexible working. Can the employer refuse this application? 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/09/2017 The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (“1996 Order”) establishes a statutory right for all employees who have been employed for a continuous period of 26 weeks to request flexible working hours. An employee may only make a single request in every 12 month period. Importantly, this is ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality A-Typical Working

An employee has recently taken some time off work citing mental health issues. The employee has never raised such health concerns with us before. Do we have any duty in relation to the employee given that the employee has never disclosed his medical history of mental illness?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/09/2017 There is no duty on the employee to disclose their mental health issues. Some mental illnesses may fall within the definition of ‘disability’ under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (“1995 Act”). Under the 1995 Act, a person has a disability “if he has a physical or mental impairment which has...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality

Due to an unexpected and unfortunate downturn in business, I am forced to make some staff redundant. One of the employee’s most suitable for redundancy is currently on maternity leave. Is there anything I need to consider before I make the final redundancy decision?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/09/2017 It is important that any final decision is not reached until a formal, thorough redundancy procedure has been followed. In a situation such as the one you have described you should consider that the employee may have a claim for unfair dismissal either on the grounds of unfair selection for redunda...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Redundancy and Reorganisation Discrimination and Equality