Where an industrial tribunal finds that an employee has been unfairly dismissed they will consider whether to make an order for re-instatement in the previous job or re-engagement in another job. An order for re-instatement or re-engagement includes compensation for arrears of pay between the date of dismissal and the order taking effect.
Any social security benefits, such as Job Seekers Allowance, paid to an employee who has been dismissed, must be paid back to the Social Security Agency out of any award of compensation made by the Industrial Tribunal. In practice, an employer must deduct the required amount from the award of compensation before making a payment to an employee.
Most employers recognize the fact that the employees are their greatest asset, and the right recruitment and induction processes are vital in ensuring that a new employee becomes effective in the shortest time. The success of an organization depends on having the right number of staff, with the right skills and abilities. Organizations may have a dedicated human resource function overseeing this process, or they may devolve these responsibilities to line managers and supervisors. Many people may be involved, and all should be aware of the principles of good practice. Even in large organizations with a specialist department it is essential to involve others in the task of recruitment and induction.
LRA Advisory Guide - Advice on recruitment, selection and induction.
Recruiting people with conflict-related convictions
This guidance is for all employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors. It has been developed by a working group co-chaired by Sir George Quigley and Nigel Hamilton and comprising representatives of Government departments, the Irish Congress of Trades Unions, the Confederation of British Industry and a representative group of ex-prisoners. It fulfils the commitment to the ex-prisoners’ constituency in the Good Friday Agreement and also the commitment given more recently by the Government in the St Andrews Agreement.
The guidance is designed to assist employers follow best practice in recruiting people with conflict-related convictions. Those are convictions arising directly from the most recent period of conflict in Northern Ireland. Generally, they are offences listed in the relevant schedules to the various Emergency Provisions (Northern Ireland) Acts pre-April 1998.
The guidance is not meant to be comprehensive, nor is it meant to deal with every eventuality. The Government recognises that the transposition of the agreed principles underpinning the guidance will be for employing organisations and their human resource professionals.
In summary, the basic principle arising out of the main report by the working group is that any conviction for a conflict-related offence that pre-dates the Good Friday Agreement (April 1998) should not be taken into account unless it is materially relevant to the employment being sought. Below is a simple, step-by-step guide to be followed by employers in dealing with job applicants who have conflict-related convictions.
Due to the nature of the global market and the speed of change, redeployment of labour and redundancies will sometimes be necessary. A poorly thought out approach to such change can result in a level of uncertainty which damages company performance and should redundancies be unavoidable, may lead to financial and emotional costs to the individuals affected. You cannot overstate the importance of planning labour requirements to avoid or to minimize the need for redundancies; the benefits of establishing an agreed procedure for handling redundancies; and the need for fairness and objectivity when selecting members of the workforce for redundancy.
Employees - Your rights if your employer is insolvent
Employers - Potential problems following redundancy
Redundancy is generally where an employer needs to reduce his or her workforce. It may happen because a workplace is closing down, or because fewer employees are needed for work of a particular kind. Normally your job must have disappeared. It is not redundancy if your employer immediately takes on a direct replacement for you. But it will not matter if your employer is recruiting more workers for work of a different kind, or in another location.
The statutory redundancy payments scheme aims to ensure that those who are dismissed through no fault of their own receive compensation. Employees with more than 2 years service are statutorily entitled to a lump sum from their employer, based on their age, length of service and contractual earnings up to a maximum limit which is currently £500 per week (from 14th February 2016) and is reviewed annually.
For redundancies made on or after 1 October 2006, the amount will be calculated as:
Employers who are considering making an offer of employment may request information from previous employers to help determine an individual’s suitability for employment.
Employers are not legally obliged to provide a reference for a former employee, but if provided should be factually correct as the information contained within a reference is covered by the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
An employee who feels that a former employer has provided an inaccurate and unfair reference may, using the Grievance Procedure, raise a complaint in writing with their employer.
The Information Commissioner provides guidance for employers on GDPR compliance here.
In all organizations employers and managers involve workers in various ways. In very small organizations this may simply entail employers giving workers information and asking them for views. In larger organizations informing and consulting workers directly remains necessary but it also becomes important to have effective employment relations with worker representatives. In addition there are a number of legal requirements for employers to provide information to and consult with worker representatives. Many larger organizations have formal processes for informing and consulting worker representatives, most commonly through some form of works council.
A Trade Union must repudiate Unofficial Industrial Action in order to protect itself from legal proceedings by an employer. The Trade Union must:
"Your union has repudiated the call for industrial action to which this notice relates and will give no support to unofficial industrial action taken in response to it. If you are dismissed while taking unofficial industrial action, you will have no right to complain of Unfair Dismissal”.
Under the Working Time Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1998 (as amended) a worker has the right to a break of 20 minutes if required to work continuously for more than six-hours. The break should be taken during the six-hour period and not at the beginning or the end of it. Young workers are entitled to a 30-minute break for each 4.5 hours worked. The breaks do not have to be paid unless the employment contract provides for this.
In addition a worker is entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of 11 hours between each working day and one uninterrupted weekly rest period of not less than 24 hours in each 7-day period. The weekly rest period can be taken as either 2 periods of at least 24 hours in each 14-day period or 1 uninterrupted period of no less than 48 hours in each 14-day period. Young workers are entitled to 12 hours rest between each working day.See:
Employers will often insert restrictive covenants/trade clauses into a Contract of Employment in order to protect any confidential information or trade secrets that employees have access to during their employment. Such clauses may also attempt to restrict future employment of employees once they leave the organisation. An employer contemplating the inclusion of such clauses should seek legal advice.
The default retirement age in the UK has been fully abolished after being phased out from April 2011.
Unless it can be objectively justified it is no longer permissible to dismiss someone on the grounds of retirement. Older workers can voluntarily retire at a time they choose and draw any occupational pension they are entitled to. Employers cannot force employees to retire or set a retirement age unless it can be objectively justified.
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The Agency’s Workplace Information Service is available to employers, employees, trade unions and others. Workplace Information Service advisors provide information and advice on a wide range of employment matters. The Workplace Information Service is also an important contact point for identifying circumstances, or clients, who would benefit from being referred to other Agency services.
The Workplace Information Service provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.
While the advisors cannot provide a legal opinion they can help callers gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as identifying possible options to help resolve their issues.