Employment Law

Employment advice for Employees

Have you ever thought about charging into your boss’ office and saying, “I’m fed up, and I quit!”? Many of our clients often feel this way. Most employment dispute cases arise because the employee can no longer tolerate their working conditions. Employers often attempt to fire their employees for reasons that are unlawful.

Have you been dismissed?

If you feel that your employer had no justification for terminating your employment, then you may have grounds for wrongful dismissal or an unfair dismissal case. In certain special circumstances, this can also apply where you have technically quit your job because the treatment has been so bad, which is called “constructive dismissal”.

Are you facing bullying at work?

Workplace bullying such as name-calling, teasing, and harassment often goes unchecked. The fear of speaking up to a bully at work, especially if they happen to be your manager, can be overwhelming. If you are being affected by this and your workplace is not following standard protocols about bullying and harassment claims, you could have grounds for a claim of bullying at the workplace.

Have you been discriminated against at work because of a disability?

Have you been afforded reasonable accommodation necessary for you to carry out your job? For example, if you have an injury, disability or you are pregnant. If not, were you fired for poor performance? Were you teased by colleagues because of your disability? Or, perhaps that promotion you were looking for went to someone else on the mistaken assumption that you would be incapable of handling the job because of your disability?

If you feel that you have been affected by any of these situations at the workplace, you should speak to an experienced employment solicitor now. Our employment solicitors have the invaluable experience and knowledge to help you determine whether you have a strong claim and if so, how best to defend your rights.

Employment advice for Employers

The National Solicitors Alliance has Member Firms across the country who offer specialist professional legal services for employers.

Our specialist areas of legal advice include employment contracts, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and redundancy advice.

When disputes occur, our employment solicitors are available to advise employers on claims for unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal and discrimination in the workplace. NSA employment lawyers provide quality legal representation in employment tribunals and in the civil courts.
It is important that employers have a comprehensive Contract of Employment for their employees, with appropriate Grievance Procedures and Bullying & Harassment Protocols at the outset of the employment relationship. A specialist employment solicitor can guide you through the process and advise your organisation so that you and your employees know where you stand regarding their rights and obligations within the workplace.
Another important issue for employers relates to the distinction between “employees” and “independent contractors”, which is well established in Irish law.

  • Employees gain the benefit of all of the rights contained in the employment legislation, and this concept is easily understood. Their employer registers them for tax as an employee and is responsible for paying pay related social insurance (PRSI) on their behalf and is responsible for deducting tax at source from their income. The full benefits of the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act 2005 apply to their safety at work, and they may bring a claim for unfair dismissal if they are dismissed from their employment without a fair reason after they have been employed for 12 months.
  • While the engagement of a tradesman is a simple example of the hiring of an independent contractor, it is perfectly acceptable in many other circumstances to engage an individual as an independent contractor even if they are carrying out regular work for you. This will have the benefit to the employer of leaving the individual responsible for their tax affairs, and the contractor has to pay value-added tax (VAT) on the sums charged if applicable, but the employer does not have to pay PRSI. The main provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 do not apply, and the individual may not complain about being unfairly dismissed if their role is terminated, though they must receive adequate notice under the terms of their engagement.

Legal and tax advice ought to be obtained if a decision is being made as to whether an individual should be hired as an employee or independent contractor to avoid surprises, as the parties to the agreement can seek to re-characterise the relationship if things go wrong. Revenue will insist on all legal formalities being in place before it will accept that a taxpayer’s characterisation is correct.

Stress at work

The modern workplace increasingly imposes 24-hour accessibility through smartphones, emails, the Internet and related client demands requiring an immediate response. Many employees are then obliged by their employers to work at home far beyond what is provided in their contract and indeed far beyond what is safe or appropriate. In some cases, this even breaches European and domestic legislation in relation to Working Hours and Health and Safety regulations.

Additionally, because Ireland has moved away from a manufacturing economy into a more technologically advanced economy, more jobs are being created in the “high-tech” sector and many which are governed by decisions made outside the country. This can lead to a “clash of cultures” between, for example, a CEO in the United States and the workers in Ireland, which can create stress within an organisation if not properly managed.

This type of stress, if not addressed, can have very serious consequences on the individuals concerned leading to issues such as anxiety or depression caused by work-related pressure, for which the employer could be held liable in the courts through a personal injuries action for work-related stress.

It is crucial, whether you are an employee or an employer that issues in relation to work-related stress are discussed, and potential litigation in relation to it are discussed with your solicitor at the earliest opportunity.

If you feel that you have been affected by any of these situations at the workplace, you should speak to an experienced employment solicitor now. Our employment solicitors have the invaluable experience and knowledge to help you determine whether you have a strong claim and if so, how best to defend your rights.

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