In this era of increased employee litigation the Labour Court has thousands of cases waiting to be heard – In a huge number of these cases the employer will end up paying substantial sums in compensation to employees (or former employees). In a lot of instances the award will be made as a result of the employer failing to follow appropriate procedures when dealing with an employee.
Unfortunately, the onus is on the employer to prove that he or she acted in a fair manner – the motives behind his or her decisions will be scrutinised. Everything must be justified.
On a daily basis we hear of Unfair Dismissal cases succeeding – the rulings are regularly shocking… even to Irish Employment Law professionals. We see employers being forced to pay huge sums due to the occurrence of harassment/bullying – often the employer is not even aware that such an activity is taking place – yet it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that this type of situation does not arise in their workplace.
A recent example of harassment in the workplace occurred in a fast food company in Blackpool, Cork where two employees were subjected to sexual harassment by another employee.
An Equality Tribunal ruling found that a lesbian couple, who both worked for a fast food restaurant in Cork, were forced to endure obscene remarks and queries about their relationship and sexuality from another employee at the branch.
The tribunal found that management at the restaurant failed in their duty to take the appropriate steps to protect the women and consequently were instructed to pay €15,000 to the couple.
Under Irish Employment Legislation it is the duty of the employer to provide a workplace that is safe for lesbian women and gay men to be open about their sexuality.
This is something that all employers need to pay close attention to – this kind of sum could sink a small company – we heard yesterday that Ireland’s economy is receding again – We know the whole area can seem like a minefield but companies simply can’t afford to be careless when it comes to employee related matters. It is crucial to keep on top of the regular updates in Legislation.
Did yo know that parental leave has recently been increased from 14 to 18 weeks?
Did you know that Maternity, Adoptive and Health and Safety Benefits are taxable as of 1st July 2013?
The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) is carrying out inspections in Irish workplaces and imposing fines where employers are in breach of Irish Employment regulations.
The employer is legally required to have contracts of employment in place with all employee who have accrued 2 months’ service – employers also need to have employee handbooks in place.
Without employment documentation and clear and appropriate policies and procedures in place the company is not insulated against the risk of a fine – many employers are exposed at the minute and need some guidance to ensure they are protected in the future.
We are Irish Employment Legislation specialists and are offering complimentary consultations/audits to employers in Ireland who feel that they would benefit from a meeting with one of our HR specialists.