Legal Training, CPD Courses for Solicitors, Barristers and Legal Professionals

Course Key Developments in Employment Law


Key Developments in Employment Law

4 general CPD hours by group study

Friday 16 September 2016, 1.30pm - 5.30pm

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8, €175.00

There have been significant developments in employment law in recent times. These have fundamental and far –reaching implications for practitioners. The object of this seminar is to highlight such changes and to assess their practical importance in day to day practice.

Discrimination: Pitfalls for the Unwary

The law relating to discrimination applies to all stages of the employment relationship: pre-contract; during the course of employment and at retirement stage. We will consider practical issues which face employers.

Pre- Employment Medicals

  • Is it wise to have a pre-employment medical and what are the circumstances in which a job offer can be withdrawn in reliance on an unsatisfactory medical?
  • What are the implications of disability discrimination law at pre-employment stage and what defences are available under section 16 of the Employment Equality Act 1998?
  • What should an employer do if the pre-employment medical discloses a medical condition including seeking specialist advice.

Absence Management

Absenteeism and absence management is an issue which every employer will confront at some stage. Issues to be considered include:

  • Achieving a balance between an effective absence management process and compliance with equality laws that afford protections to employees with disabilities.
  • Where the employee has been unfit for work for some time what are the obligations: Doherty v Marks & Spencer?
  • How broad is the definition of “disability” under the Employment Equality Acts?
  • Fitness to work medical assessments: the importance of fair procedures:

    Delaney v Central Bank of Ireland.

Dismissals on the grounds of Ill Health

  • The obligation to consult with the employee prior to dismissal: McGrath v Irish Distillers
  • The position of an employee who is no longer capable of performing his or her duties: Kennedy v Leonard and Tolan.

Retirement Age

  • Age discrimination in the context of retirement: implications of the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015.
  • Retirement age and post-retirement contracts.
  • What constitutes objective justification?

The Workplace Relations Commission: Practical Implications for Employment Litigation

  • Time limits to bring claims.
  • Early resolution of disputes: mediation.
  • Adjudication: is the hearing in private or in public? Inquisitorial or adversarial?
  • Is evidence required to be provided on oath and is representation allowed?
  • What about examination and cross- examination of witnesses?
  • Discovery and attendance of witnesses.
  • Appeals and the enhanced jurisdiction of the Labour Court.
  • Can hearings at the adjudication stage and/or appeal stage be based on submissions alone?
  • New procedures for the enforcement of awards through the District Court.
  • Penalisation of employers for breach of employment law: compliance notices and fixed payment notices.
  • Sharing of information on “rogue” employers: implications for public works contracts.

Personal Injuries in the context of Employment: Bullying and Harassment

  • The test to establish liability for bullying and harassment in the workplace: Maher v Jabil.
  • “Recognisable psychiatric illness”: Mc Grath v Trintech.
  • The Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005: risk assessments and bullying. Should a bullying policy be incorporated into a safety statement?
  • Is the failure of an employer to act when on notice of bullying of an employee fatal to the defence of a subsequent claim: Shanley v Sligo County Council?
  • Is the absence of a written procedure by which an employee can seek redress detrimental to an employer’s defence: Atkinson v Carty?
  • Are claims for disappointment and distress actionable where no psychiatric illness is suffered even though the actions may have constituted a breach of a duty of care owed to the employee: Larkin v Dublin City Council?
  • Does Kelly v Bon Secours lower the threshold for establishing a psychiatric illness?
  • Whether the employee was subjected to bullying treatment: an objective test? Berber v Dunnes Stores.
  • When might aggravated damages be awarded: Sweeney v Ballinteer Community College.
  • Corporate bullying – a new departure: Kelly v Bon Secours.
  • Will the failure of an employee to correctly engage with or pursue the procedures available to him result in the entirety of his claim being dismissed: O’Toole v County Offaly VEC.
  • The wide range of actions found to constitute bullying in a large organisational context: Browne v Minister for Health
  • How difficult is it to cross “the foreseeability threshold”: McGrath v Trintech, Frank Shortt v Royal Liver Alliance and Maher v Jabil.
  • How relevant are “long and totally uncharacteristic absences from work” in establishing reasonable foreseeability: Sweeney v Balinteer Community College.
  • Procedural Issues: practice direction.
  • Overlapping and parallel claims: Is an employee entitled to maintain personal injury proceedings in respect of the same set of facts litigated under the Employment Equality Acts: Cunningham v Intel.
  • Can an employee pursue proceedings against an employer in the High Court while at the same time seeking relief under the Unfair Dismissals Acts: Stephens v Archaeological Development Services.
  • The decision of the Court of Appeal in Ruffley v Board of Management of St Anne’s School.
  • A practical guide to the calculation of quantum.

Monitoring of Electronic Communications in the Workplace

  • The employees right to privacy.
  • Scope of social media policies: conduct during and outside working hours and as well as activity on employee owned devices.
  • Contracts of employment and the reference to relevant policies.
  • Intercepting e-mails.
  • Disciplinary issues.
  • Sanctions which are consistent and proportionate to the circumstances.

These times include a 30 minute networking coffee break (refreshments and light snacks are provided).

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