First Tuesday Q&A

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

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

In the past we topped up maternity benefit (to the level of normal pay) for staff on maternity leave. However, due to financial constraints we have informed staff that we will not be doing this in the future. A staff member’s representative has written to us stating that this is in contravention of the Equality Act in England and Wales on the grounds that this cost saving measure disproportionately impacts on staff members due to family status. Is this true?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/11/2013 Making any changes to maternity pay has the potential to give rise to claims for discrimination on grounds of sex or pregnancy. Assuming matters relate to the jurisdiction of England and Wales (as opposed to Northern Ireland), however, the employer should seek to address the following questions:-Is...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Contracts of Employment Working Time and Leave

What is the current state of law in relation to disability absences being taken into account by an employer for disciplinary action?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/08/2013 Disciplinary action against an employee for absences that are a consequence of a disability could constitute discrimination arising from disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. If persistent or long-term absence affects the employee’s ability to carry out the job, you should addres...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Discrimination and Equality

A Manager wishes to issue the following memo to all staff;

It has been decided that, in all disciplinary meetings all communications must be in English. It will not be permitted for anyone to communicate in any other language. This will ensure that everyone present knows what is being discussed.

Is there any way in which this can be justified without breaching race discrimination law?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/02/2013 While we are unaware of the background leading you to consider issuing this memo, you are likely to struggle justifying its position, particularly as, we assume, you have employees who are not fluent in English. A core principle of carrying out a fair disciplinary procedure is for employees to unde...

If a disabled agency worker requires an adjustment (e.g. a specific type of chair), who is responsible for providing it, agency or hirer?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 08/01/2013 The Disability Discrimination Act extends to those working under “a contract of service or of apprenticeship or a contract personally to do any work”. It also renders it unlawful for a “principal”, in relation to “contract work” to discriminate against a person who is a “disabled contract worker”. ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality A-Typical Working

Where you have a female operations / production manager who has requested part-time working (compressed hours) of 4 days a week instead of 5 due to family-related reasons (new baby). Are we at risk if the sole basis for refusing the request is that there is a daily (Monday - Friday) management requirement?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/12/2012 The risk of refusing such a request is that a Tribunal may decide you are indirectly discriminating against that female employee by applying a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) to her role which would put female employees at a particular disadvantage compared with male employees, unless the PC...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Working Time and Leave

Does an employee have the right to place themselves on 'disability related leave' if they believe the appropriate 'reasonable adjustments' have not been made?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/12/2012 There is no statutory term or right to “disability related leave”. However, situations can arise where an employee may argue that they are on sick leave because their employer has not made an appropriate reasonable adjustment. In the case of Olenloa v North West London Hospitals NHS Trust (June 201...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination and Equality Working Time and Leave