Management October 22, 2014 Last updated September 22nd, 2018 1,680 Reads share

Protecting Your Business From Employment Claims

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There is an abundance of legislation relating to employment in Ireland. Employers are responsible for ensuring that all Employees receive certain basic minimal employment rights. There is

The terms and conditions

One of the most important steps (Required under the Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994 and 2001) is to provide an Employee, within 2 months of their commencement, with a statement which contains the basic terms and conditions of their employment. There are a number of terms and conditions which employers are obliged to have detailed in this statement, which include the following:

  1. Full name of Employee and Employer;
  2. Address of Employer or the address of the principal place of the relevant business of the Employer in the State or registered business address;
  3. Place of work or where there is no fixed place of work, a statement specifying that the Employee is required to work at various locations;
  4. Job Title or nature of the work;
  5. Date of Commencement of the Employee’s employment;
  6. If the role is temporary, the expected duration of the contract, or if the contract is for a fixed term, the date which the contract expires;
  7. Rate of Pay or method of calculation of remuneration;
  8. Length of interval between times at which remuneration is paid;
  9. Terms or conditions relating to hours of work (including overtime);
  10. Terms or conditions relating to paid leave (other than paid sick leave);
  11. Terms or conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, paid sick leave, pensions and pension schemes;
  12. Notice Period which the Employee is required to give and entitled to receive upon the termination of their employment ;
  13. Reference to any collective agreements which affect the terms and conditions of the employment.

Employers are also required to provide a statement to Employees detailing specifics of the time and duration of daily and weekly rest periods and breaks that are provided to the Employee and any other terms and conditions relating to same.

Codes of Practice

In addition to the above, there are Codes of Practice set out by the Labour Relations Commission which relate to Disciplinary and Grievance procedures, which provide guidance on the main steps for Employers to follow in the event that there is a disciplinary issue arising with an Employee, or should an Employee have a grievance.

These procedures are vital for an Employer to implement to ensure that discipline can be managed effectively in the Organisation, and that any grievance is managed in line with the principles of natural justice. Grievance and Disciplinary procedures should be outlined in writing, and freely available to all Employees.

Should an issue arise, either with an employee’s conduct or performance, it is important that these matters are effectively managed. Should an Employer avoid an issue, it may escalate, and result in a minor issue becoming a potentially major issue. Procedures must be implemented, they should be fair and rational, and very clearly defined, and there should be no ambiguity present in any policy.

Should an issue escalate, Employers should be aware of the fact that an investigation should be carried out, all relevant facts gathered, and no hasty decisions should be made. It is important to resolve an issue as effectively and as promptly as possible.

Conside the risks and consequences

Employers must always look further down the line in terms of any decisions that they make. All possible consequences of a decision should be considered when making that decision in order to ensure they are mitigated against. The burden of proof will almost always lie on an Employer in terms of a decision being challenged in a third party forum such as the Rights Commissioners, Labour Relations Commission (LRC) and the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).

There are a number of risks associated with employment claims, not least, the potential impact on Employee morale and productivity levels. There is also possible damage to an Employer brand in terms of media coverage and publicity, from the perspective of potential clients, current clients, Employees and prospective Employees.

Should an Employee take a claim to a third party forum, there are also possible consequences should that Employee be successful in that claim, that there is a monetary award made against the Organisation to compensate for the treatment of the Employee, or there may be an order made for reinstatement or reengagement, dependant on the circumstances of an individual case.

Conclusion

Ireland is a jurisdiction which is heavily regulated in terms of the amount of legislation which is applicable to the employment relationship. Employers should be cognisant of this fact when making any employment related decision, from the beginning of the contractual arrangement, management of same, and any decisions relating to the termination of the relationship, whether voluntary or involuntary from the Employee’s perspective.

Images: ”Employment agreement – approvedShutterstock.com

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Amy O’Sullivan

Amy O’Sullivan

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