Employment Law in the Public Sector

Employment Law in the Public Sector

Due to the current situation with Coronavirus/Covid-19, this event has been postponed until Autumn 2020. If you'd like to be notified when the new date is confirmed, please email vanessa@legal-island.com

Latest Employment Law Developments in the Public Sector, in Association with ByrneWallace

Why this event and why now?
The annual update in employment laws in Ireland's public sector from the Employment Team at ByrneWallace focuses on four key areas of development that we expect to see in 2020 and that will be of particular importance to public sector and semi-state bodies.

Why is this event important for YOU?
Public sector employers are working within a very regulated environment. They have various employment-related risks to contend with, and the public sector is also expected to comply in full with best practice and other legal obligations. They are subject to a higher level of scrutiny by the Courts by way of judicial review and by the WRC in employment and industrial relations claims. They also have additional obligations to persons with disabilities.

If you don’t stay up to date with employment law developments, your procedures and practices will no longer be fit for purpose, and you will significantly increase your risk of claims, awards and reputational damage. 

This event is specifically designed with public sector organisations in mind – to highlight risks and best practice that will help keep you out of the WRC and High Court, thus saving you time, money and lots of stress.

There is a fine line between getting things right and getting things wrong and the experts from the ByrneWallace Employment Team explain the pitfalls that await and guide you along the correct path to follow.  ByrneWallace are legal advisors to many public sector departments and semi-state bodies and have detailed knowledge of the structures, cultures, concerns and needs of those in public service.

After attending you will:

  • Understand your legal obligation in relation to setting out adequate reasons for disciplinary action
  • Understand developments in relation to atypical workers and issues related to the employment of independent contractors
  • Understand how the latest developments in employment and equality case law have had an impact on your organisation and what you must now do to comply with legal requirements

Course overview/outline programme
     • Atypical Workers
     • Dealing with Disciplinary Processes
     • Equality Law Update
     • Other Key Employment Law Developments

Who is it for?
This event is aimed at HR professionals and trade union representatives in the public sector and those in semi-state bodies.

When and Where?
9:20am - 2:00pm, Autumn 2020
ByrneWallace Offices, 88 Harcourt Street, Dublin

Trainers & Speakers: will consist of partners and associates from ByrneWallace, including Emmet Whelan, Loughlin Deegan, Michelle Ní Longáin and Ciara Lennon.

NOTE: The programme for this event is subject to change and will focus on the most important factors for public sector employers at 28th April 2020.


Standard Rate: €395
Charity/Small Company Standard Rate: €345

Save an additional €20 per person if you pay online when booking

In association with:





Latest Employment Law Developments in the Public Sector


Introduction and Welcome


Atypical Workers: This session will deal with important developments in the areas of:

  • zero hours contracts, and specifically developments since the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 came into force in March 2019;
  • fixed term workers, and specifically recent case law dealing with informed consent in this context (Conaty v Malahide Community School) and options for suing in such cases (Power v HSE); and  
  • independent contractors, specifically recent case law on the assessment of the status of such individuals (including Domino Pizza v Revenue Commissioners) the risks that apply in the public sector in particular.



Dealing with Disciplinary Processes: This session covers important developments for anyone who acts as an investigator or disciplinary manager in the public sector, or advises in that area. The session will address fair procedures and report writing issues including: 

  • How the judgment of the Supreme Court in Irish Rail v Barry McKelvey has limited the entitlement to legal representation in disciplinary processes, and what it means for requests to cross examine witnesses.
  • The connection between an investigation process, and a disciplinary process, and the importance of fair procedures even where the outcome is a final written warning and not dismissal, with reference to the High Court and Court of Appeal decisions in Dillon v Catholic University School.
  • The significant obligation on decision makers in the public sector to set out adequately the reasons for reaching a decision, and to analyse the evidence in each case. This was highlighted in the recent decision of the High Court in C.D. v The Board of Management of a National School.


Networking and Break


Equality Law Update: A session on equality developments is a feature every year at our public sector employment law update event. This year we highlight recent developments in reasonable accommodation, gender pay gap reporting, age-related discrimination and the National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy 2019-2021.

NOTE: not only are employment decisions in the public sector open to judicial review but EU-derived laws are directly applicable via the courts, including the WRC.


Other Key Employment Law Developments: Another annual feature is our public sector round-up of employment law developments. As ever, this session will focus on those legislative and case law developments that the ByrneWallace Employment Team consider will be of the greatest relevance to public sector employers at the time of the event (28 April 2020). In this section, we will deal with developments the areas of Sunday premium, working time, whistleblowing, transparent and predictable working conditions, and other key developments in the public sector.


Networking and Lunch


"Speakers were very knowledgeable on the subject matter they presented."
Siobhán Tutty-Bardon, HEO - HR, Department of Defence

"[The speakers were] all prepared to deal with individual queries, both during their sessions and during breaks."
Lee Hogan Kerrigan, Research, Communications and Special Projects Officer, Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI)

"The event speakers were all uniformly excellent."
Gavin Duffy, SEO - HR, An Bord Pleanála

“You could not improve this event, it was excellent… duration perfect and morning timing facilitated a return to work” 5*****
Cathy Fennell, HR Generalist, Irish Blood Transfusion Service


  • Emmet Whelan
    Emmet Whelan Partner

    Emmet Whelan is a Partner in the ByrneWallace Employment team. With over ten years’ employment law experience, Emmet advises on all aspects of employment law and in particular specialises in contentious employment matters and employee benefits. Clients include senior executives and large public and private sector employers. 

  • Loughlin Deegan
    Loughlin Deegan Partner

    Loughlin is a Partner in the ByrneWallace Employment team. He is chairperson of the Employment and Equality Law Committee of the Law Society of Ireland.

    Loughlin represents and advises clients across the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters. He has advised and represented a significant number of major Irish public sector employers, in addition to major Irish and multi-national companies, particularly those in the pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors. Loughlin has also acted in contentious employment matters; industrial disputes and pensions restructuring.

  • Michelle Ní Longáin
    Michelle Ní Longáin Partner

    Michelle is a partner in the Employment Department and is the firm's Compliance Partner. She has extensive experience in employment, equality and administrative law. Michelle qualified as a solicitor in Northern Ireland, practising there in employment and equality law from 1994 before moving to England and Wales in 1996 and returning to Ireland in 1999 when she joined the firm. Michelle advises public and private sector clients, primarily employers, on complex areas of employment, equality and administrative law. 

  • Ciara Lennon
    Ciara Lennon Employment Solicitor

    Ciara is a solicitor in the ByrneWallace Employment team. Ciara advises senior executives, public sector employers and large private sector employers on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters. Ciara also advises service providers on equality law matters arising in respect of services provided. Prior to joining ByrneWallace, Ciara worked as an employment solicitor in London, advising UK private and public sector employers.

Event details


9.20am - 2.00pm


28 April 2020


ByrneWallace Offices, Harcourt Street, Dublin


Early Bird Rate: €345 (deadline Friday 20 March 2020)
Standard Rate: €395
Charity/Small Company Early Bird Rate: €295
Charity/Small Company Standard Rate: €345

Save an additional €20 if you book and pay online