First Tuesday Q&A

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

Do employees have the right to refuse to participate in a drugs test if not provided for in their contract of employment or a company policy?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/11/2017 An employer has a legal responsibility to look after their employees’ health and safety at work as far as is reasonably possible. As well as causing ill-health, drug misuse increases the chances of accidents at work and interferes with how much work is done. An employee can't be made to take a drug...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Health and Safety Contracts of Employment Policies and Procedures

Should employers introduce a ‘vaping’ policy in their workplace?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/10/2017 The use of E-cigarettes in the workplace does not fall within the prohibition of smoking under the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, and therefore can currently be legally used. An employer cannot prohibit their use on its premises or limit their use in working time unless it expressly covers ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Health and Safety Policies and Procedures

Are employers obliged to provide smoking shelters for employees?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/10/2017 Providing a smoke-free workplace has been obligatory for employers under the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order 2006. There is currently no requirement for outdoor smoking areas to be provided for employees or members of the public, this is at the discretion of the employer. However, should an employ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Health and Safety Policies and Procedures

If employees go to a bar after an official workplace social event and have an argument, should the altercation be considered a workplace issue and are the company liable for any injuries caused?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/01/2017 The conduct of employees at out of office events and parties can be a difficult issue for employers to address. Employers can be vicariously liable for the conduct of their employees out of office, especially if employees are attending events in the course of their employment. The key issue for emp...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Health and Safety

If you have a member of staff leave the company but then re-joins a few months later on a new contract of employment, does the company need to go through a full induction process with them again e.g. Health & Safety, Office Regulations, Data Protection and other company Procedures and Policies as if they never had worked for the company previously?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/02/2016 As a general rule, it is important that all companies, large or small, should have a well-considered induction programme to provide employees with all the information they need before starting the job. The induction programme should reflect the complexity of the job in question and help employees ...

One of our employees took part on our grounds in the Ice Bucket Challenge. It seemed like a good idea and was to raise money for charity. However, one of the employees tipping a bucket slipped and damaged vertebrae in her back. She’s now off sick and threatening to sue us because we allowed the thing to take place without adequate warnings. We didn’t encourage it – we just let the employees get on with it. Where do we stand legally and is this another case of health and safety gone mad? 

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2014 Legal liability in cases such as these will be determined on the facts of the matter. An action under common law in a situation like this is likely to be based on negligence. To succeed in an action for negligence the injured party would have to prove on the balance of probabilities that the employ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Health and Safety

We work in a very dangerous environment with knives and machinery and want to implement a drug & alcohol policy that would allow for random, with cause and pre-employment testing. Can we do this with Union agreement and without the consent of each employee?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/05/2012 Health and safety considerations are very important in circumstances such as this as employers have, under common law and statute, a duty to ensure, so far as practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees. Therefore, while drug and alcohol testing is often a controversial a...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Health and Safety Contracts of Employment Policies and Procedures

Since the cold weather hit, our staff have been complaining about the temperature in our offices, and also on the shop floor. What are our legal obligations?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/01/2011 Under health and safety legislation, you have to ensure the health, safety and welfare of your employees at work as far as is reasonably practicable. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1993 deal with working environments, with regulation 7 stipulating that "Du...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Health and Safety

I have received a number of complaints that a member of staff has been coming to work with a bad dose of flu and passing it around the office. Should I have a policy in place for this scenario, and can I force this employee to go home and stay at home until fully recovered?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 04/01/2011 You are very unlikely to be acting unlawfully if you ask the member of staff to go home and stay at home until fully recovered, provided that you pay them for all of the time they are at home. Salaried employees are entitled to be paid their salary if they make themselves available for work, irresp...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Health and Safety Working Time and Leave

If employees are not taking rest breaks and lunch breaks what can an employer do? Do they insist the employee take lunch and rest breaks as employees often skip lunch to finish early?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/08/2010 Employers must ensure that workers can take their breaks but are not required to force workers to take them; workers can elect to work through a break, provided they do not risk their own or others' health or safety. However, from a health and safety perspective it is prudent to ensure that employe...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Health and Safety Working Time and Leave