Review of Recent Employment Developments in Ireland 15/9/2017

Posted in : Fortnightly Review of Recent Employment Developments on 15 September 2017
Legal-Island
Legal-Island

Highlights this week:
We have the latest Employment Law Legislative Updater from ByrneWallace which covers legislative updates from April 2017 to August 2017 (inclusive); attracting and retaining talent are the biggest challenges facing Ireland's life sciences sector; Irish campaigners have launched a campaign calling on businesses across the world to recognise the value of the one billion people living with a disability; the Workplace Relations Commission will host their first "Walk Through Working Life" exhibition, a significant new information and outreach programme for employers and employees, at the National Ploughing Championships and we interview some of Ireland’s leading figures in HR to find out about their role, the challenges they face, what winds them up in business and how they wind down.

CONTENTS

1. Early Bird Discount on Annual Reviews Ends at 5pm Today!
2. Case Law Reviews
3. Employment Law: Legislative Updater - September 2017
4. Recruitment and Retention are the Biggest Challenges for Life Science Firms
5. Business Campaign Launched to Tackle Disability Exclusion
6. Consultation: Transparency and International Data Transfers Under the GDPR
7. Irish Economic Growth Boosts Northern Ireland Firms
8. NI Employment Law Webinar Series
9. The Workplace Relations Commission Host "Walk Through Working Life" Exhibition at the National Ploughing Championships
10. The Future of Pensions in Ireland
11. HR Interview Series
12. Brexit Update
13. UK Developments
14. Employment News in the Media
15. Thought-Provoking Video

Case Law Reviews:
Our first case review has been written by Jeanne Kelly and Jennifer O'Neill of LK Shields Solicitors, discussing the recent decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Bărbulescu v Romania regarding the right to privacy in the workplace; our second review considers the case of Ville de Nivelles v Rudy Matzak [2017] Case C-518/15 in which the Belgian National Courts sought a preliminary ruling from the Attorney General asking whether 'working time' includes situations where workers are required to be on standby on a rota basis within a specified radius of their workplace; and our third case, Genockey v The Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland [2017] IEHC 498, involved a claim of misrepresentation, breach of contract and negligent misstatement arising from the defendants withdrawing their offer of employment.

Remember:
Our case law reviews are now held in our case law section on our fully-searchable employment law hub:
https://www.legal-island.ie/case-law-landing-page/ 

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1. Early Bird Discount on Annual Reviews Ends at 5pm Today!

Over 400 of your peers have already booked to attend the Annual Reviews of Employment Law 2017 conferences, held in association with headline sponsor Sureskills. Book your place by 5pm today (15th September) and you'll save up to €85 per seat.

This year we have 13 different sessions and 16 speakers discussing everything you need to know – it’s a comprehensive and practical update on all the major changes and developments in employment laws affecting the Irish workplace.

After attending, you will better be able to:

  • Minimise your risk of litigation
  • Understand how the relevant new cases from Ireland and Europe impact your workplace
  • Update your HR policies for key areas in your organisation – key action points will be sent to you via email
  • Refer to all important legislative and case law developments relevant to your workplace with an extensive folder of notes
  • Prepare your HR department for the year ahead

The Annual Review of Employment Law conferences take place at:

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2. Case Law Reviews

Our first case review has been written by Jeanne Kelly and Jennifer O'Neill of LK Shields Solicitors, discussing the recent decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Bărbulescu v Romania regarding the right to privacy in the workplace.

Bărbulescu v. Romania [2017] ECtHR 61496/08

Keywords: Article 8 ECHR; European Convention on Human Rights; Right to Privacy; Monitoring Employees' Use of Internet and Emails

Mr Bărbulescu was employed by a private company as an engineer in charge of sales from August 2004 to August 2007.  He set up a Yahoo Messenger account on his work computer to respond to clients' enquiries, at his employer’s request and then used this work-related account to send private messages to his fiancée and brother, in breach of his employer’s policies. On 13 July 2007, Mr Bărbulescu was confronted by his employer alleging that he had been sending private messages; Mr Bărbulescu denied this allegation. These messages were printed by his employer and used as evidence in the resulting disciplinary proceedings.  Mr Bărbulescu was subsequently dismissed for breaching his employer's internal policies which prohibited the use of company resources for personal purposes. Mr Bărbulescu challenged his employer’s decision to dismiss him before the Romanian courts.  He argued that the decision to dismiss him was null and void on the basis that it breached his constitutional right to correspondence and also breached the Romanian Criminal Code.  Mr Bărbulescu was unsuccessful before the Romanian court, which held that his employer was entitled to establish usage rules prohibiting personal use of company equipment and Mr Bărbulescu had been informed of his employer's policy. Mr. Bărbulescu appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) which held in January 2016 that the monitoring of an employee’s email/internet usage was reasonable in the context of disciplinary proceedings and that “it was not unreasonable to seek to confirm that employees were completing professional tasks during work hours”.  The ECHR noted that his employer’s monitoring was both limited in scope and proportionate. Having exhausted the avenues of redress in Romania, Mr Bărbulescu then requested that the decision of the ECHR be referred to the Grand Chamber. 

In an important departure from the previous decisions, on 5 September 2017 the Grand Chamber held that there had been a breach of Mr Bărbulescu’s rights to privacy and correspondence under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Grand Chamber’s decision focused primarily on whether Mr Bărbulescu had been given sufficient prior notice of his employer's internal regulations on email/internet usage.  It was critical of the fact that the Romanian Courts had omitted to consider whether Mr Bărbulescu had been given advance notice of his employer’s monitoring measures.  In the Grand Chamber’s view, an employee must be warned of their employer's monitoring before such monitoring is initiated.  The Grand Chamber concluded that Mr Bărbulescu had not been informed in advance of the extent and nature of his employer's monitoring, or the possibility that the employer might have access to the actual contents of the Yahoo messages. In its decision, the Grand Chamber was also critical of the fact that the Romanian Courts had not sufficiently examined whether the aim pursued by the employer could have been achieved by less intrusive methods than by accessing the contents of Mr Bărbulescu's communications.  In addition, the Grand Chamber noted that the Romanian Courts had failed to consider the seriousness of the consequences for Mr Bărbulescu resulting from the monitoring, namely disciplinary proceedings and dismissal.

Practical Implications for Employers

It is important to note that the Grand Chamber’s decision does not mean that employers can no longer monitor employee communications at work or dismiss employees for private use of company equipment.  However the decision serves as a reminder that when an employer takes measures to monitor employees’ communications, these measures must be accompanied by adequate and sufficient safeguards against abuse.  Employers need to carefully consider their phone, email and internet usage policies and be very clear with employees about what is and isn’t permissible.  Whilst employers’ strive to ensure proper usage of company equipment by their employees, and in this regard are permitted to impose restrictions on usage, the court has made it clear that an employer’s instructions cannot reduce private social life in the workplace to zero.  Employers should expect that their systems will be used for an element of personal communications. 

Although not changing current best practice in Ireland in this regard, employers are reminded of the need to strike a fair balance between the interests at stake.  Monitoring should be carefully considered, approached with caution and conducted in the least intrusive manner in the circumstances.

When drafting email, internet and phone usage policies, employers’ should ensure that such policies are reasonable and proportionate, that prior notice of all monitoring practices is furnished, that the scope of such practices does not go beyond what is necessary for a legitimate purpose, that appropriate safeguards are put in place to preserve privacy in spite of monitoring and that employees know what specific disciplinary consequences may follow from a breach.  Crucially, policies should be clearly communicated to employees on induction and on a regular basis thereafter.

https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{"itemid":["001-177082"]}

Ciara O’Kennedy, Partner at LK Shields, will be presenting her session, ‘A Solicitor’s Guide to Bullying in the Workplace’ at this year’s Annual Review of Employment Law. Bullying, particularly cyberbullying, is a serious problem in many workplaces. Ciara will be highlighting key aspects in her comprehensive guide and discuss how participants might best deal with specific bullying issues or complaints.

The early bird offer ends today, so book your place now to claim the early bird discount!
https://www.legal-island.ie/events/

Ville de Nivelles v Rudy Matzak [2017] Opinion of the Advocate General Case C-518/15

Keywords: Working Time; On Call; Payment; Protection of the Health and Safety of Workers 

This case was a reference to the Advocate General by the Belgian National Courts. The Court was asked for guidance on whether 'working time' per Directive 2003/88/EC includes situations where workers are required, on a rota basis, to be on stand-by within a specified radius of their workplace.

The worker, a firefighter in this case, was required under his terms of engagement to be available and on call for work one week in every four, including evenings and weekends. During these stand-by periods he had to remain contactable and, when required, report to the fire station within eight minutes. In practice, this meant the worker must reside near the station and his activities were restricted when he was on call. However, he was only paid for time on active service and not for being on call.

The Advocate General held that the definition of working time should not automatically be extended to include workers on stand-by duty who are required to quickly respond to their employer's calls and whose activities during this period are limited. Instead they indicated that the overriding factor to be considered is the quality of time the worker can enjoy when on stand-by, rather than the degree of proximity to the workplace required. Accordingly, they held that the classification of on call time as 'working time' should be based on the individual facts in a case and the quality of time the worker enjoys whilst on call.

http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=193236&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=790918

Genockey v The Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland [2017] IEHC 498

Keywords: Recruitment and Selection; Conditional Offer of Employment; Fulfilment of Recruitment Criteria

This case involved a claim of misrepresentation, breach of contract and negligent misstatement arising from the defendants withdrawing their employment offer to the plaintiff. The plaintiff had emailed her curriculum vitae to a senior manager in the defendant company and asked to be considered for any upcoming positions. The plaintiff had included her leaving certificate results from 1997, however as she later admitted these were inaccurate. Initially, no positions were available but she was later invited to interview for a position as Loans Administrator. She was asked to bring along a completed application form and original proof of her qualifications, but failed to bring the latter. The application form also included a declaration, signed by the plaintiff, which stated that the "offer of employment is subject to verification of educational qualification...any deliberate misrepresentation or omission could result in the withdrawal of any offer of employment (if successful), or in dismissal should employment have commenced".

The plaintiff was subsequently offered the job and before commencing same was asked to provide professional references and her leaving certificate results. Following receipt of the plaintiff's results the defendant informed the plaintiff that they could no longer offer her the position as she had failed maths.

The Court held that the plaintiff had not shown that the defendant had failed in their duty of care to her, as it was clear at all stages of the hiring process that the offer would be conditional on the plaintiff meeting the employer's hiring requirements. Accordingly, the plaintiff's claim failed as the defendant had a right to dismiss her for not meeting the requisite job criteria.

http://www.courts.ie/Judgments.nsf/09859e7a3f34669680256ef3004a27de/5db76af1041af2828025816e00453594?OpenDocument

Rescinding Job Offers

McDowell Purcell provide additional commentary on the High Court decision of Genockey and A Bank (2017) IEHC 498 and warn readers about the importance for employers of ensuring that pre-employment criteria are clearly communicated to candidates and complied with prior to making any offer of employment. Read the article in full:
https://www.mcdowellpurcell.ie/legal-blog/rescinding-job-offers-recent-case-law-high-court/ 

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3. Employment Law: Legislative Updater - September 2017

The latest employment law legislative updater from ByrneWallace covers legislative updates from April 2017 to August 2017 (inclusive).

There have been some important developments during this period, mainly in the area of proposed new legislation (bills) and the key highlights include;

  • The enactment of the Competition (Amendment) Act 2017 which establishes rights for certain categories of self-employed workers to be represented by a trade union for the purposes of collective bargaining.
  • The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017 sees the merger of the Financial Services Ombudsman Bureau and the Office of Pensions Ombudsman into one body the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman, dealing with complaints relating to financial services and pensions.
  • The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Gender Pay Gap Information) Bill seeks to compel employers of a certain size to publish information relating to employee pay, for the purpose of showing whether there are differences in the pay of male and female workers and, if so, the nature and scale of such differences.
  • The National Minimum Wage (Removal of Sub-minimum Rates of Pay) Bill looks to remove the provision in existing legislation which allows those under 18, and those in the first two years of their working lives, to be paid less than the Minimum Wage.
  • The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill proposes to introduce a new ground of discrimination in relation to employment equality and the equal provision of goods and services, that of discrimination based on socio-economic background.
  • The Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill has been introduced to the Dáil by the Minister. However, anticipated provisions relating to defined benefit pension schemes are not included – work continues on drafting these, which will be included in the Committee Stage of the Bill.
  • Other notable developments include the proposals for priority drafting of legislation aimed at improving protections afforded to workers on zero-hour contracts and strengthening the regulation of precarious work.

Read all the updates in this edition:
https://www.legal-island.ie/articles/ire/features/byrnewallace-employment-law-legislative-updater/2017/sept/employment-law-legislative-updater--september-2017/

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4. Recruitment and Retention are the Biggest Challenges for Life Science Firms

Attracting and retaining talent, as well as reform of the personal tax system, are the biggest challenges facing Ireland's life sciences sector, according to new research from global executive search firm Accreate. Of the 350 leaders of life science businesses in Ireland that took part in the survey, 84% said that attracting and retaining talent were the 'most challenging' or 'challenging' issue affecting their businesses, while just over one in two identified Ireland's personal income tax regime and regulatory environment as the next 'most challenging' or 'challenging' issues facing the sector.

Ireland's life sciences industry employs over 50,000 people across all regions. It is home to eight of the world's ten largest medical device companies, all of whom contribute to the sector's €45bn worth of exports each year.

"Overall, the sentiment for the businesses currently situated in Ireland is strong, 79% of respondents see Ireland as being of significant importance to the future of their businesses, which is a considerable endorsement of the value which Ireland brings to the many multinational businesses here," David Phelan, Managing Partner at  Accreate said. More from the Irish Independent:
http://www.independent.ie/business/jobs/hiring-and-staff-retention-top-issues-for-life-science-firms-36122896.html

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5. Business Campaign Launched to Tackle Disability Exclusion

Four prominent Irish campaigners have launched a campaign calling on businesses across the world to recognise the value of the one billion people living with a disability.  Led by Caroline Casey, blind campaigner and activist, the ‘#valuable’ campaign will engage the business community to tackle disability exclusion around the world. Aims of the campaign include putting people living with a disability on their boardroom agenda, identifying business leaders that will stand for and champion the issue of disability in business around the world, and ignite a global conversation on the issue.

"The ambition of #valuable is to begin a real conversation on business and disability that will drive systemic change. It is time to challenge the status quo, and truly position disability equally on diversity and inclusion agendas," Ms Casey said. More about the campaign from the Independent:
http://www.independent.ie/business/in-the-workplace/business-campaign-launched-to-tackle-disability-exclusion-36060652.html

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6. Consultation: Transparency and International Data Transfers Under the GDPR

The EU Article 29 Working Party(WP29) comprising the EU’s member state data protection authorities will be holding a third Fablab in Brussels on 18 October 2017 to consult with stakeholders on the topics of transparency and international data transfers under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The purpose of the Fablab is to seek the views of stakeholders in order to further inform the preparation of new guidelines on transparency under the GDPR and the updating of existing guidelines on international data transfers.

Ahead of the Fablab, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) is conducting an online consultation on the topics of transparency and international data transfers under the GDPR. The submissions received by the DPC from this consultation will be shared with the presidency team, and other members, of WP29, for the purposes of conducting the Fablab and preparing new and updated WP29 GDPR guidelines. The submissions may also be used by the DPC for the purposes of any future GDPR guidance materials which the DPC may produce.

The DPC seeks submissions on the following issues:

  • Which legal bases/mechanisms for conducting personal data transfers to third countries or international organisations under the GDPR are likely to be most commonly relied on by your organisation?
  • What are the challenges to conducting personal data transfers to third countries or international organisations under each of the available legal bases/mechanisms set out in the GDPR?
  • What specific actions might the Article 29 Working Party and/or national data protection authorities take to help organisations address or alleviate such challenges?
  • What aspects of international personal data transfers under the GDPR should be prioritised for the purposes of guidelines which may be produced by the Article 29 Working Party and/or national data protection authorities?
  • If there are other aspects of international personal data transfers under the GDPR on which you have specific comments, proposals or questions (whether legal, practical, interpretative or otherwise), please provide us with this feedback.

https://www.dataprotection.ie/docs/EN/06-09-2017-Call-for-submissions-on-issues-of-Transparency-and-International-Data-Transfers-under-GDPR/m/1662.htm 

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7. Irish Economic Growth Boosts Northern Ireland Firms

Northern Ireland firms are benefiting from the strong growth in the Republic of Ireland's economy, an Ulster Bank survey has suggested. The bank conducts a monthly survey of private sector business activity. The August survey showed the strongest rate of growth this year, with exports to the Republic of Ireland reportedly supporting rises in workloads.

The Republic of Ireland, which is Northern Ireland's single biggest export market, is continuing to experience a robust economic recovery. Unemployment is at lowest levels since the summer of 2008 and the country's central bank is forecasting economic growth of 4.5% this year and 3.6% in 2018. Some Northern Ireland firms are also likely to be benefiting from the weakening of sterling against the euro. More from the BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-41220501

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8. NI Employment Law Webinar Series

Do you have business interests in Northern Ireland? Do you have a Northern Ireland employment law issue that is concerning you?

We’re trialling a new (free) webinar series with O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors, where you can listen in live and submit any Northern Ireland employment law questions you like. It’s called ‘Any Questions?’ (for obvious reasons) and we’ll be broadcasting live on Wednesday 20th September from 12.00 – 12.30.

If you have interests in NI and you’d like to dedicate this 30-minute slot to your own professional development, register here now and we’ll send you a reminder on the day (please feel free to recommend this to colleagues and friends, too):
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8495283518550389506

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9. The Workplace Relations Commission Host "Walk Through Working Life" Exhibition at the National Ploughing Championships

The Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission, Oonagh Buckley, has announced the launch of a significant new information and outreach programme for employers and employees that will be unveiled at this year’s National Ploughing Championship. The “Walk Through Working Life” programme takes the format of a “walk” through key stages of the employment relationship that will be of very real value to employees and employers. Learn more about this valuable opportunity from the WRC:
http://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/news-media/Workplace_Relations_Notices/Workplace_Relations_WRC_will_host_their_first_Walk_Through_Working_Life_Exhibition_at_National_Ploughing_Championships.html

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10. The Future of Pensions in Ireland

The Law Society of Ireland will be hosting an evening on 'The Future of Pensions in Ireland' on Monday 9 October. Led by an expert panel, including:

  • Stephen Gillick (chair) (Mason Hayes & Curran),
  • Paul Kenny (former Pensions Ombudsman),
  • Jane McKeever (Matheson) and
  • Tommy Nielsen (Independent Trustee Company)

This will be a chance to discuss interesting topics and network with peers, with the added benefit of gaining 1-hour CPD M&PD.

When: Monday 9 October 2017. Drinks and networking reception from 5:30pm with the panel discussion from 6pm-7pm

Where: The Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin 7

Fee: Free of charge for Law Society members

More from Irish Legal:
http://www.irishlegal.com/8298/the-future-of-pensions-in-ireland/

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11. HR Interview Series - Michelle Payne

In this series, we interview some of Ireland’s leading figures in HR to find out about their role, the challenges they face, what winds them up in business and how they wind down.

Our latest interview was with Michelle Payne, Head of HR, Openmind Networks. Michelle knew from the start that a career in human resources was for her. She is passionate about working with people and helping them grow and develop in their roles.

In this interview, Michelle explains who she most admires in business, how she believes that respect and value help increase employee motivation and performance and the key skills essential to a role in human resources. Read the full interview here:
https://www.legal-island.ie/articles/ire/resources/hr-interview-series/2017/sept/interview-michelle-payne/

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12. Brexit Update

Common Law Ireland to be 'Isolated' within EU Post-Brexit

Ireland will become much more isolated after Brexit as one of only two common law jurisdictions remaining in the European Union, leading Irish legal experts have warned. Paul Gallagher SC, a former Attorney General of Ireland, told a UCD Sutherland School of Law seminar on Friday that differences between the two legal traditions of common and civil law have come to a head in the EU, particularly with regard to regulations involving contract and criminal procedures.

The Common Law and Brexit: A New Frontier? was chaired by Professor Conor Gearty of the LSE, with presentations from Mr Gallagher as well as Dr Catherine Donnelly, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Conleth Bradley SC. Justice Gerard Hogan SC and Lord Mance of the UK Supreme Court were also in attendance. The panel focussed on the effect Brexit would have on the future of common law. When the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, Ireland and Cyprus will be left as the sole remaining common law countries within the EU, which is dominated by states of the civil law tradition.

Previously, the UK was the main power from which the EU derived its common law expertise, and shared a common interest with Ireland in ensuring that EU legislation was not drafted or interpreted in a way that would be contrary to the principles of the common law. More from Irish Legal:
http://www.irishlegal.com/8486/legal-experts-say-common-law-ireland-to-be-isolated-within-eu-after-brexit/  


Brexit: The Future of the Environment

Are you concerned about Brexit and the environment? As part of NI Environment Week 2017, Northern Ireland Environment Link will be hosting a seminar on Monday 11th September 2017 at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre to discuss the latest developments on Brexit.

In response to the EU Referendum result NIEL and its members created a new dedicated Brexit working group entitled the NIEL Brexit Coalition (NBC) to assess and respond to the challenges and opportunities associated with Brexit.

Topics of discussion include:

  • The challenges for the environment on both sides of the border, such as biodiversity loss, climate change, air and water quality remain the same now as before the Referendum result.
  • Through existing EU legislation, a wide range of environmental protection has been set out, and it is essential that, following Brexit, NI maintains a high or even improved level of environmental protection.
  • As the EU has provided high levels of investment in the environment, it is essential that this level of support is continued post Brexit.
  • In the absence of the European Commission and the European Court of Justice, it is not clear how environmental standards will be upheld post–Brexit. It is essential that governance arrangements are put in place to replace any loss of the necessary oversight, accountability, and enforcement functions currently carried out by the EU institutions.
  • As we have a unique challenge associated with the Northern Ireland/ Republic of Ireland land and sea border – many environmental problems have a strong cross border dimension. It is crucial therefore that the island of Ireland is considered as a single bio–geographic unit and that effective mechanisms exist to resolve and manage cross border environmental issues post Brexit.

This will be your opportunity to get an update on the work of the NIEL Brexit Coalition as well as having your say on the environmental messages we need to communicate at a NI, UK and European level on why and how our environment needs to be safeguarded post-2019.

View the draft agenda:
https://www.nienvironmentlink.org/cmsfiles/Brexit---The-Future-of-the-Environment-in-NI.pdf

And register for the event:
https://northernirelandenvironmentlink.wufoo.eu/forms/qkqgim516tv5g3/

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13. UK Developments

Employment law is a devolved power in Northern Ireland. The items in this section apply throughout GB only (Scotland and England & Wales) unless we specify they apply to NI.

This section is brought to you by Ciara Fulton, Partner and Head of Employment (Belfast) at DWF (Northern Ireland) LLP. Ciara is dual-qualified and practices law throughout the island of Ireland. Find out more about Ciara:
https://www.dwf.law/people/c/ciara-fulton/ 


New Vento Bands

On 20 July 2017 the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England & Wales and in Scotland launched a consultation on proposed changes to Employment Tribunal awards for injury to feelings and psychiatric injury following the decision of the Court of Appeal in England & Wales in De Souza v Vinci Construction (UK) Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 879. This was a judicial consultation conducted by the Presidents in advance of proposed Presidential Guidance. The Presidents have now produced their guidance, which will lead to an annual review of the 'Vento' bands used to calculate the award of injury to feelings in discrimination cases throughout the UK (there is no set limit to compensation in workplace discrimination cases, although awards will include an element for injury to the complainant's feelings, calculated by reference to a method first set out in the Court of Appeal case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No. 2) [2002] EWCA Civ 1871).

The Presidents concluded that, as at 4 September 2017, the figures that should apply are:

  • a lower band of £800 to £8,400 (less serious cases);
  • a middle band of £8,400 to £25,200 (cases that did not merit an award in the upper band); and
  • an upper band of £25,200 to £42,000 (the most serious cases), with
  • the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £42,000.

https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/vento-consultation-response-20170904.pdf

Workplace Support for Parents with Premature or Sick Babies

There are over 95,000 premature or sick babies born each year in the UK.

When a baby is born prematurely, or with health needs, it can be a difficult time for parents, and work may be the last thing they want to think about. New guidance from Acas provides important information for employees and employers in the UK in relation to preterm births or full-term births where the baby is sick. It sets out best practice guidance for managing employees in these difficult circumstances.

Content

  • Overview
  • What does premature birth mean?
  • Employee responsibilities - evidence of pregnancy and birth
  • Supporting the parents following the birth
  • The death of a premature or sick baby
  • Returning to work
  • Additional appointments following discharge from hospital

Although Acas is GB-based, the information is applicable throughout the UK:
http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=6049 

The Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2017

The Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 come into force throughout the UK on 2nd October 2017. In particular, the Regulations make provision in respect of the exchange rate which the Home Office is to apply when receiving payments in currencies other than sterling (regulation 5). The remainder of the changes made by these Regulations are minor and technical in nature.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/885/contents/made    

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14. Employment News in the Media

Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, has announced her resignation. She is the second Garda commissioner to step down in 3½ years. Ms O’Sullivan retired from the force without serving out a notice period after a near three-year commissionership. She said there was support for her to continue in the role but she felt the core of her job was now "about responding to an unending cycle of requests, questions, instructions and public hearings involving various agencies including the Public Accounts Committee, the Justice and Equality Committee, the Policing Authority, and various other inquiries” rather than implementing necessary reforms “and meeting the obvious policing and security challenges”. More from the Irish Times:
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/o-sullivan-s-sudden-retirement-takes-government-by-surprise-1.3216301


Still with the Irish Times, the Government believes the new Garda commissioner will need to be paid about €300,000, or 65 per cent more than the current salary, if strong international candidates are to be attracted to the post. While Independent Ministers and leading Opposition TDs have called for an external appointee who can drive reform of An Garda Síochána, some in Government are uneasy about an international candidate, as it would put a foreigner in charge of national security, and favour a senior civil servant instead.
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/state-could-offer-salary-of-300-000-to-attract-garda-chief-1.3217514

Still with policing, an internal Garda investigation into the falsification of breathalyser figures has found that disciplinary action may have to be taken against a number of Gardaí after the force wrongly claimed to have checked an extra 1.5 million drivers over a seven-year period. More from the Irish Times:
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/garda%C3%AD-face-sanctions-over-falsifying-breath-tests-1.3206620


AIB has confirmed a member of staff misplaced sensitive personal data relating to hundreds of its customers. The material was lost on a commuter train in the west of Ireland and is understood to relate to about 500 people. The names and details relating to loan and deposit balances, account turnover and annual fees are understood to be included and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has been notified. More from the Irish Times:
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/aib-employee-loses-banking-details-of-500-customers-on-train-1.3218170

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15. Thought-Provoking Video

Legal-Island Podcast: The Essential Elements of a High-Performing Team

Before we show you the video, we have a podcast for you to consider.

Shauna Hughes of Eye Change Consultancy takes a look at the importance of effective team-working in organisations and points to Lencioni’s model ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ to pinpoint the essential elements that must be in place to create a high-performing team. Click here to listen to Shauna’s podcast:
https://www.legal-island.com/articles/uk/features/hr/2017/aug/the-essential-elements-of-a-high-performing-team/  


This week's thought-provoking video is about tobots and education. Meet Todai Robot, an AI project that performed in the top 20 percent of students on the entrance exam for the University of Tokyo -- without actually understanding a thing. While it's not matriculating anytime soon, Todai Robot's success raises alarming questions for the future of human education. How can we help kids excel at the things that humans will always do better than AI? (13:37):
https://www.ted.com/talks/noriko_arai_can_a_robot_pass_a_university_entrance_exam

Enjoy the weekend.

This article is correct at 15/09/2017
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The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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