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Insights & Publications

  • Latest Employment Law Updates (09 October 2017)

    Employers should note the following recent changes in the context of maternity, immigration and collective redundancies: Longer maternity leave and benefit, changes to the notification procedures for collective redundancy, and change to Graduate Work Permit Eligibility.

  • When does an internal investigation become a courtroom? (28 September 2017)

    Earlier this summer, as summarised in our previous article, the High Court appeared to significantly expand on an employee's entitlement to fair procedures during internal employee investigations. In Lyons v Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board (the "Lyons Decision"), the High Court held that where dismissal or an adverse impact on reputation were potential outcomes of that investigation, the employee should be afforded (i) the right to cross-examine his accuser; and (ii) the right to be legally represented.

  • Employee email - back in the spotlight. Employers cannot reduce private social life in the workplace to zero. (08 September 2017)

    The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) delivered its most recent determination on the issue of employee privacy and email monitoring in the case of Barbulescu v Romania (Case 61496/08). The Grand Chamber of the ECHR held that there had been a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention) where an employer monitored and accessed personal emails sent by an employee during business hours from his Yahoo Messenger account, using company property without notifying the employee in advance that monitoring would take place. A 2016 ruling from a lower division of the ECHR held that there had been no violation of article 8 of the Convention.

  • Workplace Bullying - Significant Supreme Court decision clarifying the position (29 August 2017)

    The Supreme Court's decision in Ruffley v The Board of Management of St Anne's School brings much needed clarity to the law of bullying in the workplace. The Supreme Court has reversed the controversial judgement of the High Court in 2016 which had resulted in not only the largest ever award for a bullying claim, but an apparent broadening of the definition of what constitutes "bullying" in the workplace. The Supreme Court's decision, which draws a clear distinction between "classic" bullying and a breach of fair procedures, will be a relief to employers, confirming that "conduct is to be judged according to the standard of human beings, and not of angels".

  • Just how "fair" do employee investigations need to be? A new High Court case to be aware of (16 June 2017)

    Conducting a fair investigation can be a legal minefield for many employers and a recent High Court decision (Michael Lyons v Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board) has gone a step further, seemingly adding to employees' procedural armoury! The Court held that where one outcome of an investigation was potential dismissal or an adverse impact on the employee's reputation, the employee has both the right to cross-examine the individual accusing him of wrongdoing, and the right to legal representation during the process. This decision means that employers must be crystal clear as to the scope and nature of any investigation, distinguishing between solely fact finding investigations and investigations which could result in findings against the employee in question. In the case of the latter, it seems the full panoply of natural justice rights must be afforded. The broad-ranging statements of the judge in this case suggest that prudent employers should proceed more cautiously than ever in carrying out investigations, and afford accused employees with the right to cross-examine and be legally represented during the investigative stage.

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