In Brief: A Case Law SpecialPosted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 4 October 2021 Issues covered: Case Law; Pay and Conditions; Unfair Dismissal; Discrimination and Equality
This month’s 'In Brief ' is a common law catch up. It can be hard to keep up to date with case law developments – it’s all too easy to miss an important decision that has major implications for employers and employees. For this very reason we decided to compile a list of some of the most interesting employment cases that have been decided in the last few months.
If you want to know more about any of the cases, each has a link to a more detailed case review on the Irish Employment Law Hub, where you will also find a further link to the full judgment online.
The decisions highlighted in this email cover a wide range of employment issues, including deductions from pay, equality matters and unfair dismissal.
Pay and Conditions of Employment
There have been a few interesting cases over the last few months that highlight the importance of for example, having written consent prior to making deductions from pay. In a Trainee Tax Consultant v Professional Tax Consulting  deduction of fees for an academic course from the Complainant’s final pay were unlawful as the Respondent did not have prior written consent for doing so.
In addition employers should ensure that employees receive the National Minimum Wage for all hours worked as was not the case in Imtiaz Ahmed Ranjha Sky Solicitors V Imtiaz Khan  where the Labour Court upheld a decision by an Adjudication Officer that ruled that the Complainant, a trainee solicitor should be paid the national minimum wage for all the hours worked while training and working for the respondent, which amounted to 50 to 60 hours per week.
The case of Peter O’Reilly v Iarnrod Eireann  regarding non-payment of sickness benefit is a reminder for employers that good communication is essential with employee’s on sick leave. Due to a mix up in communication the Complainant was deemed fit to return by an internal Chief Medical Officer but not by his GP and the subsequent withholding of sickness benefit was deemed unlawful.
Payment for untaken holidays due to sickness was dealt with in Vincent Fallon v G4 Secure Solutions  where an Adjudication Officer ruled than the Complainant, unable to take holidays in the year his employment ended and the previous two years should have received compensation for the untaken leave. In addition, it was ruled that this should be paid at his normal weekly pay of 45 hours which included 5 hours at overtime rates.
The recent case of Bus Eireann v Mr Kenneth Folman  is interesting as it deals with reinstatement following dismissal. The Labour Court overturned the decision of an Adjudication Officer and found that compensation rather than reinstatement was the appropriate remedy in this case of unfair dismissal on the basis that there were trust issues between the parties that would make the employee’s return to the workplace unworkable.
Many of us have gotten used to working more flexibility and remotely during lockdown and employers may well face many requests to continue to do so. The recent case of a Credit Controller v Sports Company  is a helpful reminder of making sure consideration is given to such requests. An Adjudication Officer recommended that the Respondent pay the Complainant €10,000 in compensation for terminating her employment and failing to consider remote and alternative working arrangements to facilitate her attendance at work when her childcare arrangements were impacted due to the closure of the creche on which she relied for childcare.
Retirement dismissals continue to be difficult to justify as shown in the recent case of A Senior Staff Nurse v A Nursing Home (In Liquidation)  in which an Adjudication Officer ruled that the dismissal of the Complainant for retirement was unlawful discrimination when the Respondent failed to engage with the Complainant in considering an extension to her fixed term contract, particularly at a time when recruitment was ongoing and the Complainant had an impeccable work record.
DWF Solicitors contributes a monthly case review on significant equality decisions for the Irish Employment Law Hub. Recent cases include:
Duty to provide reasonable accommodations: in LT vs Peter Mark Hair Salons Unlimited Company  an Adjudication Officer awarded the Complainant, a hairdresser compensation of €6000 when the Respondent failed to consider adequately a request for alternative employment when she suffered a hand injury that rendered her unable to perform her normal role. Also in Marie O Shea v Health Services Executive  an Adjudication Officer awarded the complainant the sum of €65,000 in compensation for discrimination when her employer failed to provide reasonable accommodations or properly consider them.
Pregnancy Discrimination: in A Complainant v A Respondent  an Adjudication Officer found that the decision to terminate the Complainant’s employment on the grounds of redundancy was influenced by her disclosure of pregnancy to the Respondent.
These cases and many more can be found here on the Legal Island hub.
This article is correct at 04/10/2021
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.