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Gross Misconduct Dismissal

The threshold of gross misconduct is a difficult one to meet for workplace dismissals and this recent case highlights that despite the long serving and clean employment record of the employee concerned, proper investigation and due process can ensure that inappropriate behaviour in the workplace can be dealt with correctly (ADJ 00026053).

Probationary Period Perils

The recent High Court case of Donal O'Donovan v Over-C Technology [2020] IEHC 291 was a stark reminder about the potential problems of not using contractual probatioanry period provisions correctly, when dismissing employees during their probatioanry period.

Age and Health Discrimination

This is an interesting case in which an employer suggested that it had cited age and heath to be the reason for a cleaner's dismissal to assist her getting social welfare, rather than referring to the real gross misconduct reason of inappropriate behaviour with a resident in the disability service that she worked in. This was a costly mistake that resulted in an award of €10,000 being made against them for discrimination (ADJ - 00025681)

Redundancy Selection Matrix

With redundancy activity unfortunately an inevitable consequence of COVID 19, as a number of businesses are unable to re-open or are now operating with fewer employees, it is critical that the redundancy process is managed in line with legislation and best HR practice to ensure that additional costs do not arise for employers for unfair dismissal claims due to unfair selection for redundancy.

Effective Workplace Investigations

As investigations have become more and more common and necessary in the workplace to deal with issues such as complex grievances, allegations of bullying and harassment, breaches of operational standards and potential misconduct, it is critical that they are conducted in a fair and procedurally correct manner, to ensure that they don’t contribute to a flawed procedure if investigation findings ultimately lead to the dismissal of an employee. Here are some of the key aspects which should be considered to help ensure any investigation procedure is robust and stands up to scrutiny:

Covid 19 Return To Work Essentials

As more employers continue to plan for the accelerated return to work of their employees, or employees have already returned to work, it is important that employers implement a proper and safe return to work and to remember that employees are still expected to stay at home if they can work remotely and do not need to return to the workplace.

Accrual of Annual Leave During Sick Leave

A recent award under the Organisation of Working Time Act should be noted when the Adjudication Officer not only made and an award of €5,483.40 for annual leave accrued during long term sick leave, but a further €5,000 compensation for an employer's refusal to pay the leave when requested by an employee on termination of her employment. (Ref ADJ - 00025283)

Discrimination During Maternity Leave

As we approach a period of restructuring and potential redundancies due to the implications of Covid 19, employers should not forget that employees who are on maternity leave are entitled to return to the position held prior to going on maternity leave, or an equivalent post, on terms and conditions that are no less favourable. The decision reached in a recent equality case ADJ-000231830 serves as an useful reminder of how employees on maternity leave are protected.

Remote Disciplinary & Grievance Hearings

As Covid -19 ongoing restrictions mean that normal work place attendance may not resume in the near future for a lot of organisations, it is clear that the standard face to face meeting format for a range of typical workplace situations, such as grievance and disciplinary hearings will not be available for some time. It is also notable that the Supreme Court held it's first sitting ever via remote video technology last week, and the Workplace Relations Commission has published a consultation paper on conducing hearings remotely and by written submissions. So how can these meetings be managed and what are the pitfalls?

Temporary Lay Off & Short Time

As temporary lay off and reduced working hours has become the new normal working arrangement for many employers due to Covid 19, this short article deals with some of the practical issues regarding accrual of leave and selection of employees for lay-off or reduced working hours.

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