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When Love Gets In The Way of Business !

It is not that unusual that the workplace is an obvious place where people find love given the amount of time that people spend at work as well as the wide range of work related social events that employers organise for their employees. However, it may be difficult for employees involved in workplace liaisons to maintain appropriate lines between their private and work lives and workplace romances can sometimes be distracting, cause interpersonal conflicts and also potentially lead to claims of favoritism, discrimination and/or sexual harassment. So what can employers do about this ?

Accrual Of Annual Leave During Sick Leave

Since 1st August 2015 employees now accrue statutory annual leave during periods of certified sick leave, as introduced under The Workplace Relations Act 2015 which amended Section 19 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. Accrued leave can then be taken within a 15 month period after the end of the leave year in which it was accrued.

Religious Observance in the Workplace

With an increasingly diverse workforce many employers have difficulty in dealing with requests for time off to observe religious holidays and other workplace issues related to religion and beliefs.

Effective Interview and Investigation Questioning

It goes without saying that one of the essential competencies required in workplace investigations (and other forms of interviews) is the ability to ask the right questions. This article offers some useful tips for effective questioning:

Conducting Fair and Robust Workplace Investigations

This summary article provides some essential guidance on some of the key preliminary steps that should be taken to ensure that a workplace investigation process is robust and can stand up to scrutiny in the event that it leads to further action being taken under the disciplinary policy or findings of misconduct such as bullying and harassment being made against employees.

Waiver Agreements

In a recently published case (ADJ - 00000575), an Adjudication Officer found as a preliminary issue that he had no jurisdiction to hear a complaint of unfair dismissal as the claimant had not been pressured into signing a waiver and had been afforded the opportunity to seek legal advice which he had declined.

Retirement Ages

Retirement issues continue to be problematic and costly for many employers. This short article deals with some of the typical queries that I get on this issue.

Returning From Maternity Leave

A hotel manager was awarded €12,000 for a breach of Sections 30 and 31 of the Maternity Protection Act 1994 when the terms of her role were changed and diminished significantly to what they had been prior to her going on a protected period of maternity leave (ref ADJ - 00001298). Two other claims in respect of alleged discrimination were not upheld in respect of not being able to apply for a new senior role and a changed roster.

Paternity Leave

Under the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, a "relevant parent" is now eligible to take two weeks paternity leave within 26 weeks of the birth or adoption of a child.

Can abusive comments posted on Facebook outside of work by colleagues constitute harassement ?

The scope of Dignity at Work Policies is that behaviours complained about must have occurred in the course of employment. This scope does not always cover the personal use of social media outside of work and it is an interesting issue that was dealt with by the Labour Court recently in Dublin Bus v McCamley (EDA 164). This was an appeal by an employee of an Equality Tribunal Decision ( DEC E2015 - 100) which had found that his employer was not liable for harassment that had occurred.

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