First Tuesday Q&A

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

Can an employer change any policies and procedures within the organisation, without consulting with staff, as long as it is communicated to them afterwards?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 This will depend on whether the policies / procedures in question, or the relevant provisions contained therein, are contractual. Contractual terms can normally only be amended with the employee’s consent. In other words, an employer cannot make a “unilateral” change to such terms. Policies will of...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment Policies and Procedures

It has come to the attention of the company that an employee has put on Facebook derogatory comments about their manager. The Facebook page is set to private; however, a colleague who is a friend on Facebook viewed the comment and informed management and would like to be kept anonymous. How can HR approach this situation?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 Recent case law has demonstrated that employers can find it difficult to deal with alleged misconduct involving an employee's use of social media sites such as Facebook. The first difficulty for employers is how this specific type of misconduct is characterised, for example, whether the misconduct ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures

We have a query regarding workplace investigations and fairness of procedure. If an investigation is carried out by two investigation officers and they report to an investigation manager can that manager hear the case if he agrees there is a case to answer or must we refer it to a new manager to chair a disciplinary panel?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 If possible, you should refer it to someone independent at the disciplinary stage. The Labour Relations Agency’s Code of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures states that where possible, it is important to ensure that the individual holding the disciplinary hearing is not the person who conducted the...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures

Can an employee refuse to log on to Facebook via shoulder surfing?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 Looking generally at this very topical area, being the use of social media in the workplace, a string of recent cases have provided a potent reminder of the perils of posting about your workplace or colleagues, especially where this is in clear breach of your employer’s social media policy. What ha...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Data Protection and Freedom of Information Act Policies and Procedures

One of our employees has gone off work as his wife died suddenly a few weeks ago. What should we do in this instance and is it appropriate to ask him when he will be returning? We have no policies in place for bereavement?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/06/2015 There is no obligation on employers to grant compassionate leave in the event of a bereavement, except in the limited circumstances outlined in the statutory right to time off for dependents. However, many employers will provide for a period of paid leave in the event that a close relative of the e...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence Policies and Procedures

By law is an employee entitled to paid time off for doctor/dentist appointments?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 08/04/2015 No, there is no statutory right to time off for medical or dental appointments, except in relation to antenatal appointments. How an employer deals with such requests is at their discretion and governed by the express or implied terms of the contract of employment. The employee is not at work and, ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment Working Time and Leave Policies and Procedures

Can an employer recoup maternity pay if an employee does not return for 6 month’s work after the maternity leave ends?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 07/10/2014 The answer depends on whether the employee is paid contractual maternity pay over and above the statutory minimum entitlement. You cannot recoup any statutory maternity pay if the employee has not returned. If you offer a contractual rate of maternity pay over the statutory minimum rate, then, in p...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Contracts of Employment Working Time and Leave Policies and Procedures

We recently had an employee whom we caught abusing our internet policy. We allowed him to resign rather than go through the disciplinary process, which we thought would inevitably lead to dismissal, given the seriousness of the wrong-doing and the strength of evidence. However, a HR colleague from another location said we have left our employer open to an unfair dismissal challenge. Could you please advise?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 05/08/2014 It is not uncommon for employees to resign in the face of potential dismissal and employers often prefer this option in order to avoid the time and expense of a dismissal leading to a dispute or litigation, which can of course happen regardless of whether the dismissal was fair. However, employers ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures

One of our employees has recently taken up a second job to help with his finances. This is having a detrimental effect on his performance level at work with us. What can we do about this?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/07/2014 During the recession, many employees took on second jobs to fill in the gaps caused by salary freezes and loss of overtime. You haven’t indicated how long this additional job has been affecting the employee’s performance but I would suggest in the first instance an informal approach to address the ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures

What is the latest advice when it comes to disciplinary investigations? Is it best to separate the role of investigator from decision-maker at the disciplinary hearing? Our procedures are silent on this – are we likely to come unstuck at a tribunal of the person who carried out an investigation also convenes a formal meeting that might lead to dismissal etc?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/07/2014 Once the decision is taken that an investigation is required, the employer needs to consider who should conduct the investigation. In most cases, the employee's immediate line manager will be the appropriate person.Sometimes the employer's own procedure (which may be contractual) stipulates who is ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues Policies and Procedures