Employers have a legal duty to ensure that they do not treat an individual less favourably on any grounds related to their age, gender, marital status, disability, race/nationality, sexual orientation, religious belief or political opinion.
Fair treatment is not just a moral and legal obligation but makes good business sense. Employers who treat employees fairly will be best placed to recruit and retain staff in an increasingly diverse and competitive labour market.
Disciplinary procedures are used for dealing with problems with employees' conduct or their performance, which could lead to warnings or dismissal.
When replies to the job advertisement have been received, it is appropriate to:
• match applications against the job description and person specification;
• eliminate applicants who do not have the basic requirements for the job; and
• draw up a shortlist of candidates for interview.
All pregnant employees are entitled to time off to keep appointments for antenatal care made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor.
A person in a qualifying relationship with the pregnant employee is entitled to unpaid time off work to accompany the expectant mother to two antenatal appointments.
An employer may decide to suspend an employee temporarily from work if they are involved in a disciplinary situation, or for maternity or medical reasons. Usually an employee who is suspended is entitled to their normal pay during their suspension.
To make a claim to an industrial tribunal for unfair dismissal, in most circumstances employees will need to have worked continuously for the organisation for one year. There are other types of claim, for example regarding unpaid wages, holiday entitlements or discrimination, which do not require one year's continuous service.
An employee who is being made redundant and who has been continuously employed by the same employer for at least two years is entitled, whilst under notice, to take reasonable time off with pay within working hours to look for another job, or to make arrangements for training for future employment.
Employers can do various checks to make sure future employees can do the job they are being hired to do, that they are entitled to work in Northern Ireland, and that they are not barred from working with vulnerable groups.