First Tuesday Q&A

The claimant was dismissed by reason of gross misconduct and in particular.

We have a multi-lingual workforce. Can we insist that all staff only speak English while at work?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 07/03/2017 Many workplaces are made up of several nationalities some of whom do not speak English as their native tongue. We are often asked by multi-cultural employers if they can introduce a company policy whereby employees are only permitted to speak English while at work. This issue was dealt with in a Wo...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Discrimination Policies and Procedures

We have an employee on long term sick leave - what level of contact can/should we have with that employee?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 07/03/2017 Sick leave is considered a protected period and, generally, an employer should not contact an employee during this time. However, there may be circumstances where an employer may justifiably contact an employee during long-term sick leave. This includes where the employee’s sick certificates have e...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence

We believe that an employee was under the influence of alcohol during working hours however we were unable to prove this.  What is the current position on breathalysing employees at work?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 07/03/2017 This is a common issue for employers particularly those in the transport and manufacturing industry where health and safety issues are critical to the proper running of the organisation. Employers Obligations Employers are obliged to provide a safe working environment in accordance with the provisi...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Health and Safety Policies and Procedures

Our disciplinary policy does not permit a solicitor to attend an investigation meeting. Only a colleague or trade union representative may attend. Is this lawful?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 07/02/2017 In general, an employee does not have the right to be represented by a solicitor in an internal disciplinary investigation or hearing. The Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures (S.I. 146/2000) provides that employees should be given the opportunity to avail of the right to be re...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary & Grievance Issues

During a workplace investigation, under what circumstances can you suspend an employee?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 07/02/2017 Up until relatively recently, an employer could generally suspend an employee with pay pending an investigation as long as the right to suspend was included in the disciplinary policy or contract of employment. However, the power to suspend employees pending an investigation has come under close sc...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary & Grievance Issues

Can covert surveillance be used as evidence when carrying out an investigation?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 07/02/2017 Covert surveillance often involves an employer monitoring an employee thrush the use of CCTV. The current position adopted by the Data Protection Commissioner (the "DPC"), as published in the recently revised Guidelines on CCTV Usage (the "Guidelines"), is as follows: Covert recording is generally...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary & Grievance Issues

Can employees use secret recordings of investigation meetings as evidence in a tribunal hearing?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 07/02/2017 An issue causing increasing concern for HR practitioners is the practice of employees recording grievance and disciplinary meetings without the employer’s knowledge. While many employers prohibit such practices in their employee handbooks, it is almost impossible to prevent and detect any such reco...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary & Grievance Issues

In a situation where the employer’s doctor and the employee’s doctor both deem the employee unfit for work but the insurance company which is paying out income protection to the employee deems him fit for work, must the employer make reasonable accommodation to enable the employee to return to work with limited capability?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 03/01/2017 In circumstances where both the employee's doctor and the employee's doctor have advised that the employee is unfit to return to work, the employee should remain on sick leave until such time as he/she is deemed fit to return to work. The insurer’s doctor usually only evaluates the employee for th...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Sickness and Absence

In a situation when an employee makes a protected disclosure and subsequently, while the protected disclosure is being investigated goes on sick leave due to stress, could a lowering of the employee's income because they will be paid illness benefit (which is lower than their normal salary) constitute penalisation of the person making the protected disclosure?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 03/01/2017 Under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, penalisation is defined as follows: (a) suspension, lay-off or dismissal,(b) demotion or loss of opportunity for promotion,(c) transfer of duties, change of location of place of work, reduction in wages or change in working hours,(d) the imposition or admin...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Whistleblowing (Protected Disclosures)

If employees go to a bar after an official workplace social event and have an argument, should the altercation be considered a workplace issue?

Posted in: First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 03/01/2017 Generally, events that are not organised and/or paid for by an employer would not be considered “work events”. If employees choose to leave an employer-organised event, and go elsewhere, the "event" at the new location could not be said to be employer-event - unless, for example, a manager/senior ...
This article is listed under the following topics:
Disciplinary and Grievance Issues