Review of Recent Employment Developments in Ireland 20/9/2019

Posted in : Fortnightly Review of Recent Employment Developments on 20 September 2019
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered:

What we learned this week:

  • The Courts Service of Ireland has a new website
  • A company has been held vicariously liable for an employee's death after he died having sex with a stranger on a business trip
  • Cyber Security - Can you help us to help you?
  • The WRC has launched a dedicated postponement requests email address
  • A new clampdown on social welfare fraud will include increased inspections and penalties

And here's this week's contents list in full...


  1. Case Law Reviews
  2. Cyber Security - Can You Help Us to Help You?
  3. What is Talent?
  4. WRC Launches Dedicated Postponement Requests Email Address
  5. Audit of the Republic of Ireland Independent Film and Television Drama Production Sector
  6. Courts Service of Ireland - New Website
  7. Data Protection Update
  8. New Clampdown Launched on Social Welfare Fraud
  9. Minister Canney Launches Volunteer Ireland’s New I-VOL Smart Phone App
  10. Brexit Update
  11. Industrial Action Update
  12. Minister Zappone launches 'What Works National Programme'
  13. Economy Grows By 0.7% In Q2 As Q1 Growth Revised Upwards
  14. Just in Case You Missed It...
  15. HR Developments
  16. Employment News in the Media
  17. UK Developments
  18. Friends of Legal Island
  19. Free Webinars This Month
  20. Thought-Provoking Video

Case Law Reviews: The first of this week's cases serves as an important reminder that any deductions from pay must be allowed for in the contract of employment; an employer failed to recognise experience and service when an employee was appointed to a contract of indefinite duration and dismissal of a female employee on the grounds of redundancy after returning from maternity leave was found to amount to discrimination. 

Remember: Our case law reviews are now held in our case law section on our fully-searchable new employment law hub website:


1. Case Law Reviews

A Pilot v An Airline [2019] ADJ-00016521

Keywords: Payment of Wages Act 1991; Contract of Employment

The Complainant was employed as a Pilot for the Respondent airline from September 2016 until August 2018.  He had financed his training himself which was very costly. The Respondent airline then launched a new aircraft in 2016 which required further training. The Respondent was providing staff with a ‘training bond’ scheme so that they would be instructed on how to operate the new aircraft. When one of the Complainant’s colleague refused to sign up to this scheme, he was made redundant.

After the Complainant agreed to partake in the training bond scheme, he was informed that he had to be relocated from his base which was in London to Dublin. It was the second time in nine months that the Complainant had to relocate. The Complainant was offered a new contract which he signed, believing that as he had agreed to move to Dublin the training bond did not apply.

The Complainant then handed in his Notice of Termination, upon which the Respondent deducted €3,431.62 from his wages. The Complainant submitted that he rang HR to complain about this deduction from his salary, but they did not refund the sum of money.

The Training Bond provided a scaled level of repayment in the event of the Complainant leaving his position within 3 years of his training.  The Respondent submitted that this agreement authorises the deduction from salary. The Respondent further submitted that the sum for repayment was a fair and reasonable amount which could be taken from the Complainant’s salary as authorised under his Contract of Employment.

In reaching their conclusion, the Adjudication Officer noted that the Respondent’s contract issued in 2016 does not authorise the deduction of training costs, nor had the Complainant consented to the deduction of training costs. Accordingly, the Adjudicating Officer ordered the amount of €3,431.62 be repaid to the Complainant combined with an additional sum of €1,583.82 for compensation.

An Employee v A Local Authority [2019] ADJ-00016896

Keywords: Industrial Relations Act; Protection of Employees (Fixed-term Work Act); Contract of Indefinite Duration

The Complainant commenced work as a Temporary Clerk of Works with the Respondent in 2002. Having taken into account his relevant background experience, skills and qualifications, he was appointed on the 5th point of their salary scale. From May 2002 until June 2006, the Complainant received ten temporary contracts from the Respondent. He then received a further two Fixed Purpose Contracts. In total, the Complainant received 12 contracts during the period 2000 and 2009. Each contract was for a duration of six months until the Complainant received the second Fixed Purpose Contract in June 2007.  The Complainant continued to be employed by the Respondent under this contract until receipt of a Contract of Indefinite Duration which was provided to him in May 2009.

The Complainant’s salary continued to reflect Point 5 of the salary scale. The Complainant then highlighted this issue to the Respondent, who stated that they would not address an individual request regarding queries relating to their own pay scale. The Complainant then brought the matter to the attention of the Trade Union but was again unsuccessful to resolve the issue at local level and so sought adjudication from the Workplace Relations Commission.

The Respondent submitted that the Complainant did not start work on the minimum point of the scale back in 2002 but was appointed on a temporary contract on Point 5 of the Scale.  The Respondent added that if the Complainant had any issues with the terms of the contract claim under the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act he should have raised them at the time. Therefore, the Respondent submitted that the aforementioned Act would be the proper legislation under which to have taken his case. However, he is now out of time to bring such claim.

Having considered all the evidence, the Adjudicating Officer was satisfied that the Respondent failed to recognise the Complainant’s period of service or experience. Therefore, The Respondent was ordered to place the Complainant on Point 8 of his grade with immediate effect. In addition, the Respondent was ordered to make a payment of €4,000 for compensation to the Complainant.

A Director of Marketing v A Telecom and Electronic Communications Infrastructure support Company [2019] ADJ-00019756

Keywords: Redundancy; Gender Discrimination on grounds of pregnancy

The Complainant commenced her employment with the Respondent, a telecom and electronic communications infrastructure support company, in October 2012.  She was given a number of internal promotions and became director of marketing in October 2015. In 2017, the Complainant took maternity leave and returned to work in February 2018 – during this time she had been replaced by “Mr Xa”, who continued in his employment with the company after the Complainant returned from maternity leave.

On the 1st of November 2018, the Complainant notified the company that she was pregnant. Approximately two weeks afterwards she was made redundant. The Complainant submitted that she was given no notice or offered any consultation in regard to her redundancy and essentially, she had been replaced by Mr Xa.

The Complainant submitted that she had been discriminated against, contrary to the Employment Equality Act 1998 on gender/family status and pregnancy grounds in relation to her dismissal/redundancy.

The Respondent provided that during mid to late 2017 and especially during 2018 the trading position had deteriorated sharply. The industry that the Respondent company was trading in was undergoing significant flux and a number of re-organisations had to take place in the company to allow the Company to survive. Therefore, some forty-one Redundancies took place and several internal reorganisations were also necessary and the Complainant, in conjunction with other colleagues, was moved among Business Units in early 2018.

Considering whether the Complainant’s pregnancy was a determining discriminatory factor in her selection for redundancy, the Adjudication Officer informed the court that “the burden of proof shifted to the Respondent to prove that the alleged discriminatory dismissal/redundancy was not related in any way to the pregnancy”.

The Adjudication Officer highlighted that the Complainant had been given no warning of the decision to make her redundant and that no prior consultation or consideration of alternatives had been given.

In conclusion, the court found that the Respondent had not sufficiently established that there was no link to the Complainant’s Pregnancy in her inclusion on the redundancy exit list. The existence of considerable pressure to keep the Company afloat was not an acceptable excuse in a Pregnancy discrimination case. Accordingly, the Complainant was awarded €50,000 in Compensation for the Pregnancy Discrimination in regard to the Redundancy. In addition, the Complainant was awarded a sum of €5,000 for the distress and upset.


2. Cyber Security - Can You Help Us to Help You?

Dominic O'Toole of Korus Software is presenting a session on Cyber Security at our Annual Review of Employment Law conferences later this year.  Cyber Security is a very broad area and  to ensure he covers topics that are most relevant to the attendees, Dominic is looking to speak with HR professionals to understand what concerns them on a day to day basis. Would you be available for a short call with Dominic to provide some suggestions? If so, please drop him a line on or give Dominic a call on 087 779 5288. Anonymity assured.


Dominic O'Toole, Director, KORU Cyber Security Software Consultancy

Dominic is a software development and security manager with over 20 years’ experience in leading teams in complex environments and delivering quality technical solutions to a wide variety of blue-chip clients. Since obtaining his degree in Electronic engineering from Dublin Institute of Technology and Trinity College, he has worked in many fields enjoying the dynamics of solving tricky technical problems, before running his own consultancy to help a wider range of clients.

Annual Review of Employment Law Session:

Cyber-security awareness training. How to keep your organisation's data safer from digital attack: Help your employees avoid fraud/extortion, reputational damage, loss of revenue/productivity and ensure legal compliance. Dominic O’Toole, KORU Cyber Security Software Consultancy, shows you and your employees how real-world cyber-attacks are perpetrated through the physical, online and social weaknesses of businesses and, more importantly, how simple cost- effective policies and procedures can help minimise data breaches. This session covers terminology, tools and techniques for safer data storage, email, networks, communications and much more. Attendees will receive a special discount on Legal Island eLearning in this area.

Full annual review programme details:


3. What is Talent?

What does your organisation mean when it speaks of talent and talent management? Sandra Masterson Power, Partner and Head of Employment and Benefits at Beauchamps offers some employment law perspectives on talent management in an article published recently in Eolas magazine.

Sandra will be discussing white collar crime and an employer's responsibilities in relation to reporting same at this year's annual reviews of employment law in November:  


4. WRC Launches Dedicated Postponement Requests Email Address

The new WRC Dedicated Postponement Requests email address:  

While the WRC seeks to minimise the number of postponement requests being received, as they inevitably delay the scheduling of the hearing, the WRC recognises that there are times when a postponement request is unavoidable. They look for reasons and evidence to be provided which demonstrate the “Exceptional Nature” of the Postponement Request.

The timing of any postponement request is also key. If the WRC receives a request immediately upon the parties receiving the hearing notice it means they can backfill the hearing slot. However, in the period January to August 2019 nearly 75% of postponement requests were received too late to backfill the hearing slots lost. This is a significant loss to the parties awaiting hearings but also to the WRC. The WRC is asking that if a postponement is urgently needed for exceptional reasons that the parties apply for one immediately upon receipt of the hearing notice providing evidentiary material to support such a request.

The new email address for all parties and/or their representatives to submit a postponement request operates from Monday 16th September 2019. More:  


5. Audit of the Republic of Ireland Independent Film and Television Drama Production Sector

Following a joint request by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), the Services, Industry, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU), and Screen Producers Ireland (SPI), the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is undertaking an audit of the Republic of Ireland Independent Film and Television Drama Production Sector with a view to:

  • examining industrial relations generally, employment practices and procedure,
  • assessing issues arising (if any), and
  • making recommendations for their improvement where appropriate.

The WRC is seeking submissions by 31st October:  


6. Courts Service of Ireland - New Website

The Courts Service of Ireland has a new website:  

It's not fully operational as we write but judgements have been added and more services can be expected soon:  


7. Data Protection Update

Finance Minister 'Avoids Scrutiny' of his Role In Public Services Card

The Minister for Finance has been criticised by Sinn Féin for his decision not to attend the Oireachtas Finance Committee next week to discuss his role in relation to the Public Services Card.  Minister Paschal Donohoe wrote a letter to the chair of the committee to say that it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the matter when the Government is appealing the findings of the Data Protection Commissioner.  The Data Protection Commissioner, Helen Dixon, has ordered government departments to delete data on citizens which is not related to welfare services.

The Government is fighting the decision.  In the letter, the minister remains a champion of the card, writing; "The Public Services Card Project continues to provide a legal means by which the public can access government services in the most efficient, effective and secure means possible, either in person or online."  More from RTE:

Report of the Data Protection Commission on the Public Services Card Published

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has published the report of the Data Protection Commission (DPC) on the Public Services Card (PSC). The Department has also published a comprehensive response to the findings of the report as well as related correspondence between it and the DPC.

As stated earlier this month, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty T.D. and the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D. both informed Government that they are satisfied that the processing of personal data related to the PSC does in fact have a strong legal basis, the retention of data is lawful and that the information provided to users does satisfy the requirements of transparency. This opinion was arrived at following very careful consideration of the report and having taken the advice of the Attorney General’s Office.

On this basis the Ministers believe that it would be inappropriate, and potentially unlawful, to withdraw or modify the use of the PSC or the data processes that underpin it as has been requested by the DPC.

Accordingly it is intended, in line with decisions of successive Governments dating back to 1998, to continue to operate the PSC and the SAFE 2 identity authentication process on which it is based.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection had offered, together with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, to meet with the DPC to clarify a number of matters of concern arising from the DPC’s report, without prejudice to their position, that the SAFE 2/PSC process is compliant with legal requirements. However, this offer was not taken up by the DPC.  More from


8. New Clampdown Launched on Social Welfare Fraud

A new clampdown on social welfare fraud will include increased inspections and penalties for employers who falsely claim that workers are self-employed.  The practice estimated to cost the exchequer up to up to a quarter of a billion euro per year.  By the end of this year, the Government is also planning to introduce a new criminal offence of wilfully and knowingly misclassifying an employee as being self-employed.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection spends €20 billion per year on social welfare payments for unemployment, disability, and other supports.  The new "Compliance and Anti-Fraud Strategy 2019-2023" targets "control" savings of €530 million euro in 2019 alone.  This is money that would have been paid out but for robust controls.  It will also pursue the recovery of €95m in social welfare overpayments, and will involve a review of over 750,000 individual social welfare claims.

The strategy will include measures aimed at preventing fraud through robust systems, deterring offenders by actively pursuing repayment and prosecutions, detecting breaches quickly through control techniques, and ensuring the Department accounts to the Oireachtas for monies entrusted by the taxpayer.  More on this from RTE:


9. Minister Canney Launches Volunteer Ireland’s New I-VOL Smart Phone App

Mr Seán Canney TD, The Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development , launched the new Volunteer Ireland I-VOL smartphone app, earlier this week, designed to help people find volunteer roles in their local area. This new app will make it easier for new and existing volunteers to search by their interests and also by the day that they are available.

Launching the I-VOL app, Minister Canney said:

“I am delighted to support this important new initiative which will make it easier than ever for people to find a volunteer role. Over half of the users on IVOL over the last year accessed IVOL from a mobile or tablet. This initiative takes it one step further by allowing users to access the IVOL database through their smartphone. It also allows volunteers to track their own profile on the app and keep track of their applications and log their volunteer hours”

This initiative is one of a suite of measures funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development to support and encourage volunteering in Ireland.  More here:


10. Brexit Update

High Court: Three Challenges to Brexit Strategy Found ‘Non-justiciable’

The High Court in Belfast has dismissed three conjoined applications challenging the UK Government’s Brexit strategy, which the applicants argued would result in a no-deal Brexit and a hard border in breach of the Good Friday Agreement.

Finding that the subject matter of the applications was “inherently and unmistakeably political”, Lord Justice Bernard McCloskey said the applications could be dismissed on grounds of non-justiciability alone. At the outset of the judgment, Lord Justice McCloskey said the Court would not consider applicants’ arguments regarding the prorogation of Parliament.  More from Irish Legal:

Brexit Fantasies Crumbling On Contact With Hard Reality

This interesting article by the Irish Times discusses the deeper reasons which have brought the UK to this current shambles with Brexit. A child knows that if you mix blue with yellow you get green. There is a similarly straightforward chemical reaction when you mix Brexit fantasies with hard reality.

Know Your Data - Brexit and Data Protection

In this episode of Know Your Data, the Data Protection Commission's podcast, the DPC takes you through what Brexit will mean for organisations that transfer personal data from Ireland to the UK.

One Third Of Irish Farms 'Economically Vulnerable'  - Central Bank Research

Beef and sheep farms, which account for seven out of every ten farms, face "significant viability challenges" and are heavily reliant on direct payments, according to new analysis from the Central Bank. In total, the Central Bank has said one third of all farms are classified as "economically vulnerable".  

An Economic Letter from the bank finds that "the imminent risk of a damaging Brexit outcome looms large over the sector and has compounded long-running concerns over low incomes."

It says that any future negative shock - even one less material than Brexit  - would further "expose the underlying weaknesses in the sector."

The study also finds the negative impact of Brexit on Irish farming will not be evenly distributed, adding that the west, mid-west and midland regions are both "less resilient and more exposed" than the south and east.

More from RTE:


11. Industrial Action Update

SIPTU Calls For Additional Financial Supports For Workers Affected By Beef Crisis

SIPTU has called on the Government to provide additional income supports for the thousands of workers now laid-off due to the ongoing beef crisis. Up to 3000 SIPTU members and their families are directly affected by the ongoing crisis at the beef plants.  SIPTU Organiser Terry Bryan, said: “We currently have thousands of workers laid off and this is causing massive hardship for their families across the country. These are families with bills to pay, children to feed and rent now due. Not all the workers who have been laid off will have automatic entitlement to Social Welfare payments because of the Work Permit System.

“We are calling on the Government to develop a fund that will provide income support to these workers and we insist that the beef processors, as a group, should contribute to this fund to off-set the real hardship their employees are now facing”.

SIPTU Organiser, Denis Gormalley, said: “The crisis in the meat industry, which has resulted in protests and disruption at processing the plants across the country, now threatens the jobs of up to 3,000 of our members. 

“Currently we have three thousand workers on temporary lay-off and there are ten thousand workers employed in the sector so the potential for this crisis to get a lot worse is very real. This not only affects the workers and their families directly, but also the local communities, small businesses and retailers.”

More from SIPTU:

Update - Thursday 19th September

SIPTU representatives have expressed their support for an employee loan scheme, initiated today by some of the beef processing companies to alleviate the financial hardship faced by workers during the ongoing Beef Crisis.  SIPTU Organiser, Terry Bryan, said: “SIPTU has been seeking financial supports from the processors to address the real hardship that many workers and their families are facing. There are currently 6,000 workers on lay-off which is directly affecting thousands of families that have bills to pay, children to feed and rent now due.

“The loan offer by the employers is interest free and will assist workers to pay for rent, mortgages and to cover living expenses. Social welfare payments are not enough to provide for families that are now in desperate need. "

“We understand that there may be a tax implication as a result of the loan being seen as a ‘benefit in kind’. However, we are calling on the Government and Revenue to waive this in this instance. These loans are being used to cover basic needs and to support workers and their families at this very difficult time.”

He added: “SIPTU members are also asking the Government to make additional funding available to workers on enforced lay-offs who are in difficulty with mounting bills and rent to pay. Many workers in the industry are in rented accommodation and, if supports are not made available, it could lead to many of those workers facing homelessness."  More here:

SIPTU Calls On Revenue To End Employment Limbo For Workers In St. Vincent's Centre, Cork

SIPTU representatives have called on the Office of the Revenue Commissioners to intervene in an effort to lift workers of St Vincent’s Centre in Cork city out of employment limbo.

SIPTU Industrial Organiser, Sharon Cregan, said: “It is unacceptable that loyal workers who provide such a vital community service should be left to remain in employment limbo while management sit on their hands. Our members also are being denied vital access to basic social welfare entitlements, such as dental and optical benefits. This injustice has been rumbling on since 2017. Staff were advised, on foot of HIQA recommendation that the service was to be de-registered and that the Health Service Executive (HSE) would assume responsibility of the centre pending the implementation of a different service provider.

“Over a year later, in September 2018, it was announced the COPE Foundation were proposed to take over the St. Vincent’s Centre and TUPE legislation would apply, protecting our members terms and conditions. Since then, no substantial progress has been made. Our members’ are now demanding that the Revenue Commissioners step in. We have the intolerable situation now where staff pension contributions are being deducted from the staff’s salaries continuously since March 2017 and in the possession of the HSE but at the same time being advised by the pension scheme administrator that their scheme is “closed off”.”


12. Minister Zappone launches 'What Works National Programme'

What Works aims to maximise the impact of prevention and early intervention to improve the lives of children and young people.  Action Learning is an approach to problem solving and learning in small groups (‘sets’) to bring about significant change in individuals, teams, organisations and systems 

As part of the ongoing programme of front-running innovations under the What Works Initiative, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, announced the launch of a national programme of Action Learning Sets. 

Action Learning is an approach to problem solving and learning in small groups (‘sets’) to bring about significant change in individuals, teams, organisations and systems.  This national programme of Action Learning Sets is aligned with the priority of the What Works Initiative, to deliver learning and development opportunities for professionals working with children and young people at a range of levels in policy, provision and practice.

The themes identified as the focus of these groups will cover the range of issues which front-line practitioners have identified as crucial to address, so that the best possible service can be delivered for children and young people.  What Works Action Learning Sets are being run in regions across Ireland and participation is open to all professionals working with children, young people and their families on a first come, first served basis. There is no cost to participation.  More on this from Merrion Street:


13. Economy Grows By 0.7% In Q2 As Q1 Growth Revised Upwards

The economy - when measured by gross domestic product - grew by 0.7% the second quarter of this year compared to the first quarter, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.  On an annual basis, the economy grew by 5.8%, the CSO added.  Irish GDP has outperformed everywhere in the EU each year since 2014.

The economy has so far largely brushed off Brexit uncertainties but the Government has warned that a no-deal Brexit could lead to a sudden economic contraction.  The Finance Department had forecast in April that GDP would grow by 3.9% this year.  More on this from RTE: 


14. Just in Case You Missed It...

Workplace Relations Commission Inspections - How Do I Handle It?

In 2018, 45% of all employers inspected were found to be in breach of employment legislation. The WRC has reported that approx. 6,000 workplace inspections were carried out in 2018 and 98 cases led to prosecution.  In this months ‘How Do I Handle It?’ article, Ciara Ni Longaigh, Solicitor within Ronan Daly Jermyn’s Employment Group discusses what employers can expect from an inspection by the WRC and outlines how they can best prepare for same.  She has included a helpful checklist outlining key documents/information that an Employer will need to have available for the inspection.

How to Protect Confidential Information

In this article, Laura Graham, Partner in the Commercial and Employment Law Department at Reddy Charlton Solicitors, looks at:

  • The types of confidential information;
  • The extent to which it is implied that each type of confidential information is protected during and after employment;
  • Additional precautionary steps that an employer should take to protect confidential information.

Notifying Employees of Vacancies During Maternity Leave

While an employee is on maternity leave they will usually have little or any contact with their employer.  In this article, Sinead Morgan, Senior Associate in the Employment Team at DWF discusses a recent case which provides some guidance on an Employers obligations to notify an employee of any vacancies arising while they are on maternity leave.


15. HR Developments

Dr Gerry’s Top 5 How to…. Guides

Dr Gerry McMahon is acknowledged as a national expert in the area of People Management and Employee Relations.  He has over 30 years’ experience working as a presenter cum lecturer in the area, across a host of reputable public and private sector, 3rd level educational and academic institutions.  He has also got extensive experience working as a consultant, negotiator, trainer, adjudicator, mediator, coach, team builder, investigator, researcher, facilitator, arbitrator and expert witness on behalf of a wide range of Government departments, public sector enterprises, semi-state entities, blue chip companies, professional institutes, trade unions, employer and community\voluntary and religious organisations.  We've analysed the most popular articles written by Dr Gerry as chosen by our subscribers, on the Irish Employment Law Hub.

HR in 90 Seconds

Lynsey outlines the key HR articles that have been added to the Legal Island hub this month.

Emotional Culture Within Organisations

Organisational Culture can be described as the combined summary of beliefs, customs and attitudes within the workplace.  While different industries may experience different styles of culture depending on the environment, it is essential that all workplace cultures have a significant element of positivity and stability as a presence.  Caroline McHenry of the HR Suite discusses how positive emotions can impact on employee performance and considers how managers can use Emotional Intelligence to help manage emotions in the workplace.


16. Employment News in the Media

A man who died from a heart attack after having sex with a woman he met on a business trip is a 'victim of a professional accident', a French court has ruled. This ruling means that the employer of the man, known as Xavier X, will have to pay hefty compensation to his dependents. More from the Mail online:

California lawmakers have passed a bill that paves the way for gig economy workers to get holiday and sick pay. Assembly Bill 5, as it's known, will affect firms like Uber and Lyft, which are based in California and depend on those working in the gig economy. Some estimates suggest costs for those firms would increase by 30% if they have to treat workers as employees. More from the BBC:

A worker at a major sportswear maker in Japan is suing his employer, claiming he was unfairly treated after taking paternity leave, in a rare legal challenge to the country’s conservative attitude towards gender roles. The 38-year-old man, who has requested anonymity after suffering a backlash on social media, claimed at the Tokyo district court this week that Asics punished him for taking a year’s leave after the birth of his children, in 2015 and 2018.  He had been accused of not being a “team player”, he told the court. “But it’s wrong. I believe the company is attempting to squash an individual who tried to correct its injustice. The management in fact seems to value when men work outside and women stay at home.”  More from the Guardian:

US authorities believe global retail giant Walmart likely discriminated against some female employees in US stores, paying them less or denying them promotions, according to a media report earlier this week.  The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, a federal agency charged with preventing workplace discrimination, found reasonable grounds to support the allegations, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited EEOC documents.  The finding, which concerns 178 women across 30 states, comes after many years of efforts by workers to seek compensation for alleged discrimination.


17. 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, Senior Partner at Jones Cassidy Brett. Ciara is dual-qualified and practices law throughout the island of Ireland. Contact Ciara on  

Labour Reforms

At TUC Congress this week, the Labour Party is announced plans to create a Ministry for Employment Rights in GB to “bring about the biggest extension of rights for workers that our country has ever seen” to deliver better wages, greater security and give workers more of a say over how their workplaces are run. Labour is promising that the new Ministry for Employment Rights and Secretary of State for Employment Rights will ensure that “the voice of working people will be heard at the cabinet table, exactly as it should be”.

Suggested changes include:

  • The introduction of a new, unified Workers’ Protection Agency, tasked with enforcing the law and ensuring that all workers receive the rights and protections that they are entitled to, given extensive powers to inspect workplaces and bring prosecutions and civil proceedings on workers’ behalf
  • Support for good employers through tougher penalties for bad employers who undercut them by breaking the law and tougher consequences for non-compliance with court orders
  • A Labour government will introduce sectoral collective bargaining by establishing councils of worker and employer representatives that negotiate collective agreements with minimum terms, conditions and standards for the whole of the sector and guarantee a legal minimum for every employer in the sector to adhere to on a core set of issues, including pay, working hours and recruitment and grievance processes
  • Fixing the problem of different categories of workers with different rights by creating a single status of ‘worker’ for everyone apart from those genuinely self-employed
  • Ending the so-called “Swedish derogation” which permits employers to pay agency workers less than regular staff for the same work
  • The introduction of a civil enforcement system to ensure compliance with gender pay auditing
  • Giving all workers the right to seek flexible working, and placing a duty on the employer to accommodate the request
  • A statutory Real Living Wage of £10 per hour by 2020 for all workers aged 16 or over
  • Banning unpaid internships
  • Banning zero hours contracts by requiring employers to give all workers a contract that accurately reflects their fixed and regular hours



18. Friends of Legal Island

Byrnewallace Awarded Top Legal Advisors To The Public Sector For Third Consecutive Year

ByrneWallace is pleased to announce that the firm has been recognised as Ireland’s Top Legal Advisors to the Public Sector 2019 for the third consecutive year.   Presented annually by Public Sector Magazine, The Excellence in Business Services Awards are awarded to companies and organisations who can demonstrate outstanding service, continuity, track record and general excellence in business to the Public Sector, Irish Companies, and to the people of Ireland.

Commenting on the Award, Managing Partner Feargal Brennan said, “ByrneWallace is honoured to be recognised, for the third consecutive year, as top legal advisor to the public sector.

“The public sector is one of the Firm’s most significant practice areas, and we place huge value on the depth of the knowledge and relationships which we have built up with our many and diverse public sector clients over the many years that we have worked together.  

Matheson Cork Office Continues to Grow

Matheson has announced that data privacy and employment law specialist Deirdre Crowley has joined the firm’s Cork office as partner.  As part of the appointment, Deirdre’s existing team has also joined Matheson, bringing the total number of Matheson Cork-based employees to 13.  These appointments, combined with future growth ambitions in the region, will see Matheson move to a new larger office location in early 2020.

Deirdre will be covering 'Investigations, Disciplinary Processes and Fair Procedures – Where exactly are we now?' at Legal Island's annual reviews of employment law in November:

Invitation to Succession Planning And Successful Exits For Companies

This joint seminar by Leman and Mazars will guide you through the most appropriate and legal structures to have in place to prepare your business for sale or succession and identify the successful exits for companies.

It will be held on Wednesday, 25th September 2019 from 8.00am -10.00am at Leman's office - 8-34 Percy Place, Dublin 4.  The format will include a light breakfast from 8.00am and presentations from 8.30am -10.00am followed by Q&A.  If you wish to attend email Kristofer O’Shea -


19. Free Webinars This Month

25th September: Fostering a Dignity and Respect Culture & Potential Risks of Not Achieving Same

Our next webinar is at 2pm - 2:30pm on Wednesday 25th September 2019 and will feature Caroline McEnery in conversation with Scott Alexander from Legal Island.

In this webinar we will discuss the following points:

  • Importance of having a Company Policy on Dignity & Respect
  • Early Interventions
  • Definition of Bullying
  • Importance of a Grievance Procedure
  • Principles applied to the Disciplinary and Investigation Procedure
  • What creates a negative workplace
  • Building a collaborative team

Caroline McEnery, Managing Director of The HR Suite and HR and Employment Law Expert. Caroline is a former member of the Low Pay Commission and is also an adjudicator in the Work Place Relations Commission.

Register Now:

NOTE: Legal-Island is running a series of free employment law and HR webinars for subscribers throughout 2019 in association with the National College of Ireland.

All of our Legal Island webinar recordings and searchable transcriptions are posted online within this section of our employment law hub and are available to stream and research:  


20. Thought-Provoking Video

This week's thought-provoking video is by Sandeep Jauhar and is called 'How your emotions change the shape of your heart'.   "A record of our emotional life is written on our hearts," says cardiologist and author Sandeep Jauhar. In a stunning talk, he explores the mysterious ways our emotions impact the health of our hearts -- causing them to change shape in response to grief or fear, to literally break in response to emotional heartbreak -- and calls for a shift in how we care for our most vital organ.  Watch here:

Enjoy the weekend.

This article is correct at 20/09/2019

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.

Legal Island
Legal Island

The main content of this article was provided by Legal Island. Contact telephone number is 028 9446 3888 / 01 401 3874 or email

View all articles by Legal Island