First Tuesday Q&A

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

Can HR challenge the individual’s assertion that it is a whistleblowing complaint at the point the complaint is made or can the complaint be dismissed where we think the complainant is acting in bad faith or may even be lying?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/04/2018 A whistle-blowing complaint is essentially a disclosure about an employer’s malpractice or any type of wrong-doing that the employee believes is genuinely in the public interest. The following types of malpractice are covered: criminal offences; failure to comply with a legal obligation; miscarria...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Whistleblowing (Protected Disclosures)

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

If, having given notice of terminating an employee’s contract of employment an employer changes its mind, can it withdraw this notice?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/10/2017 Once notice of termination has been given it cannot be withdrawn unilaterally, whether by the employer or the employee. If an employer changes its mind during the notice period, the notice of dismissal still stands unless the employee agrees that it can be withdrawn. In a situation where there is m...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal

How long can an employee be absent from work due to sickness before being dismissed?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 06/06/2017 There is no specific 'safe' date or formula which applies, it will all depend on the circumstances of each individual case. It is not how the long the absence was or is, rather what steps the employer has taken to deal with the situation that will determine when it is fair for an employer to dismis...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Sickness and Absence

We have an employee that suffers from age-related macular degeneration. Their performance at work has suffered since their diagnosis and it has now reached the point where they are not doing their job properly. Can we dismiss them?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 03/04/2017 This is a highly litigious issue and so specific legal advice should be obtained before taking any further steps in respect of the employee in question. By way of general guidance, however, it should be noted that, as well as showing that capability was the reason for dismissal, employers will also...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Sickness and Absence Discrimination and Equality

Like many organisations we may have to reduce staffing costs. Is it lawful to terminate employees on fixed term contracts first or must they always be considered equally with full time permanent staff?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/09/2015 If an employee’s fixed-term contract expires, without renewal on the same terms as before, or is terminated as in a redundancy situation, the employee will have the same rights to unfair dismissal and redundancy protection as a permanent employee, subject to the usual qualification periods. The emp...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Redundancy and Reorganisation Contracts of Employment

What happens if a tribunal says an employee should be reinstated but the employer doesn’t do it/refuses to do so? Are there mechanisms to enforce the decision?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 02/12/2014 A reinstatement order is one of three remedies that a tribunal can award in a claim for unfair dismissal. The other two are: re-engagement and compensation. Reinstatement is where the employee is given his old job back on the same terms and conditions, and with no loss of continuity of employment. ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal

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...

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

At what point can an employer justify “frustration of contract”?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A NI on 01/07/2014 A contract of employment may come to an end when an unforeseen event makes performance of the contract impossible or radically different from what the parties originally intended. The contract is then said to have been “frustrated”. When a contract is frustrated it ends automatically by operation o...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Unfair Dismissal Contracts of Employment