In Brief: Important Updates from February 2019

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 4 March 2019
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A number of useful articles and interesting case law reviews were added to the Irish Employment Law Hub throughout the month of February. Here is a quick recap of some of the recent developments within the employment law sphere:

DPC Annual Report 25 May - 31 December 2018

Commissioner for Data Protection, Helen Dixon, has launched the first annual report of the new Data Protection Commission covering the period 25 May to 31 December 2018, detailing the work of the Irish data protection authority following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018.

We summarise the highlights of the report and what to look out for in 2019.

Time to Refresh Contracts of Employment and Recruitment Practices

The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 came into effect today, 4th March 2019. In this article Laura Graham, Partner in the Commercial and Employment Law Department at Reddy Charlton Solicitors, emphasises key changes of The Employment Act 2018 and outlines what employers should do next in order to comply with their obligations.

A Guide to Bonus Payments during Maternity Leave

The issue of bonus payments is one which often gives rise to disputes between employers and their employees. There are many ways in which bonus clauses can cause difficulties and result in litigation. In this article Einde O’Donnell, Associate Solicitor at LK Shields, focuses on the payment, or non-payment, of a bonus during periods of maternity leave. This is a complex area that can result in significant financial exposure for employers if they get it wrong.

Top Employer-related Brexit Queries

Brexit, in some way, shape or form, is probably on the horizon next month. For employers, the prospect of the UK leaving the European Union raises a number of concerns from an employment law perspective. In this article Ailbhe Dennehy, Senior Associate with A&L Goodbody's Employment Group, aims to answer your employer-related Brexit queries including:

  • Why is Ireland unique when it comes to Brexit?
  • What is the backstop?
  • What is the common travel area?
  • What issues are topping employers’ agendas?
  • Will it be difficult for a UK company to open an Irish office?

Minimum Rest Breaks: How Do I Handle It?

Ensuring that employees get suitable rest breaks is vitally important in maintaining a happy and healthy workforce. Under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, employers are under an obligation to ensure that their employees receive their statutory entitlement to breaks. This month’s ‘How Do I Handle It?’ article written by Ciara Ni Longaigh, Solicitor in Ronan Daly Jermyn, concerns employee rest breaks and working time records.

I want to ensure that I am complying with statutory obligations in relation to employee rest breaks during the working day and establish a system to retain such records correctly. I am concerned about the legislation surrounding employees’ entitlements to minimum rest breaks and time recording systems. How do I handle it?

Law Firm ‘Compulsorily Retired’ Woman (67), WRC Rules

A law firm has been ordered to pay nearly €26,000 to a woman who was dismissed because of her age in a recent case before the WRC: A Secretary v A Solicitor’s Firm ADJ-00016645. The woman, then 67 and now 68, brought a case before the WRC after she was dismissed by the unnamed solicitor’s firm in January 2018.

Workplace Relations Commission Inspections at a glance

With over 5,000 WRC inspections taking place during 2018 and the WRC’s commitment to continue this level of inspection activity into 2019, now is the time to audit employment compliance practices. In this ‘Hot Topics’ article Niamh Walsh, Associate Solicitor in Crowley Solicitors, provides an overview of WRC Inspections and the key areas to watch out for in 2019.

DPC Publishes Guidance on Personal Data Transfers in Event of 'No Deal' Brexit

The DPC has published guidance on transfers of personal data from Ireland to the UK in the event of a 'No-Deal' Brexit.

The guidance includes information on the extra measures that can be put in place to legally transfer personal data to the UK in the event the UK becomes a 'third country.'

Case Law Reviews

We reviewed a number of interesting cases this month. Click on the case titles below to read the full review article.

Contract for Income Protection – Provision of Medical History

This case considers whether an insurance company was entitled to repudiate a contract for income protection entered into with the plaintiff owing to his failure to furnish certain information about his medical history.

Monitoring Employees – Breach of Trust and Confidence

A dental technician who returned work after a period of annual leave to find a hidden camera pointed at her desk has been awarded €5,000 at the WRC. She made this discovery while her bosses were on holiday, and asked them to discuss the camera when they came back. The WRC adjudicator did not accept that the camera was merely there to protect the employer and found it breached the trust that had existed between the two parties.

Football Fan Unfairly Dismissed

An Irish soccer fan has been awarded €24,200 arising from his summary dismissal by Irish Rail due to his jailing for assault during the Euros in France in June 2016. Irish Rail dismissed David Hunt by letter while he was in prison in 2016 for being unable to fulfil his contract. Finding the dismissal unfair, the WRC adjudication officer held Irish Rail initiated no contact with the complainant or his family to ascertain the relevant facts. She noted the electrician, who had worked 14 years for Irish Rail, was not given any advance notice, nor offered any procedure or right of appeal by his employer.

Breach of Fair Procedure and Natural Justice

The WRC has recommended that a retailer pay €6,000 to a worker who was sacked as a result of the fallout from accidentally spilling a cup of hot pot noodles on a child in a shop. The WRC adjudication officer found the worker was dismissed from his employment in the absence of any procedures. “There was no investigation, no disciplinary hearing and he was not given an opportunity to defend himself or to appeal the decision to dismiss.” 

This article is correct at 04/03/2019

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.

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