First Tuesday Q&A

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

In setting down a retirement age in a contract of employment, should you include the objective grounds for the retirement age in order to try to manage expectations or are you just tying your hands for the future? What would you advise?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/01/2016 Retirement clauses should only be used where the employer can objectively justify compulsory retirement of employees, and in fact are not even necessary in those situations, since termination on notice may be preferable to automatic termination.Although clauses such as this were fairly common in th...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Redundancy and Reorganisation Discrimination and Equality Contracts of Employment

In setting down a retirement age in a contract of employment, should you include the objective grounds for the retirement age in order to try to manage expectations or are you just tying your hands for the future? What would you advise?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/12/2015 Although compulsory retirement clauses were once common features in contracts of employment, their current use is rare following the abolition of the default retirement age. Compulsory retirement is now potentially unlawful age discrimination, and should only be used where the employer can objectiv...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality

I have a query in relation to an employee of the Muslim faith who uses the staff canteen to pray during working hours. The canteen space is limited and this activity is now causing difficulty for other staff who may have a scheduled break at the same time. What is the responsibility of the employer to accommodate staff who wish to practice their faith during work hours?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/07/2015 It is as unlawful to discriminate against a person for holding a particular (or any) religious or philosophical belief, as it is to discriminate against someone for not holding a religious or philosophical belief. Employers should adopt good practice measures to ensure that such persons are not put...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Working Time and Leave

Is it right that obesity is a disability and that I have to provide extra wide chairs etc for obese employees?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/01/2015 It can be, according to the recent decision of the European Court of Justice in FOA (Kaltoft) v Billund. Mr Kaltoft was a clinically-obese child-minder for a local council in Denmark. He was dismissed due to redundancy; he alleged that obesity was a factor and brought proceedings. The District Cour...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality

Where underperformance involves a disability, how far do you have to go to try to get the person up to 'normal' performance?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/11/2014 Where underperformance is caused or exacerbated by a disability, employers need to be mindful of the possibility of both an unfair dismissal and/or disability discrimination claim. To help reduce the risk of a disability discrimination claim, the employer should consider what reasonable adjustments...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Discrimination and Equality

How many chances do you have to give a persistent "offender" where disciplinary matters are concerned?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/11/2014 It seems this employee has committed misconduct on quite a number of occasions. Rather than allowing this to continue, giving him/her chances to improve, it is preferable to deal with the misconduct under a disciplinary procedure. Formal disciplinary action taken under the procedure usually involve...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Discrimination and Equality

Does dismissal for absences due to post-natal depression arising after maternity leave amount to sex and/or pregnancy and maternity discrimination?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/08/2014 Under Article 5A of the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976, pregnancy discrimination occurs where an employer treats an employee unfavourably because of her pregnancy or because of an illness she has suffered as a result of her pregnancy during the “protected period” i.e. from the beg...

What are the legal requirements when providing references, what are we obliged to do?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/03/2014 There is strictly speaking no legal obligation on an employer to provide a reference for an employee or ex-employee and employers are therefore generally entitled to refuse to provide a reference. There are however some limited exceptions to this general rule, such as: 1. Discrimination: Failure to...

An employee has a Facebook profile which is public for all to see. The employee adds the company where they work on their profile page. They then make very serious racist comments. The posts are brought to the company’s attention. What action is required? 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/12/2013 It is possible for employers to take action against employees who make inappropriate or derogatory comments about fellow employees or their employer on social media sites or where they bring the employer’s reputation into disrepute as the case may here. This is particularly the case where employee ...

What is the legal status on the use of spying on potential candidates using social media?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/11/2013 According to a recent Microsoft survey, less than 15% of candidates all across the UK believe information which is available on social media affects their chances of securing employment. The same survey, however, showed that 45% of employers in the UK admit to using it regularly and rejecting candi...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Policies and Procedures Recruitment and Selection