New Code of Practice Sets Forth How to Deal With Requests to Work Beyond Retirement Age

New Order or Decree

Author: Stephen Kane, Solicitor & Emmet Whelan, Partner – ByrneWallace

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), the statutory body in Ireland tasked with promoting good workplace relations and producing guidance documents, has published a code of practice for employers, employees and their representatives, setting out best principles and practices to follow during the engagement between employers and employees in the run up to retirement, including responding to requests to work beyond the retirement age in the employment concerned. The Code of Practice entitled “Industrial Relations Act 1990 (Code of Practice on Longer Working) (Declaration) Order 2017” sets out the procedure that should be followed by employees and employers where a request is made by an employee to work beyond their contracted retirement age.

Employers to Take Practical Approach When Determining Reasonable Accommodation Question

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Stephen Kane, Solicitor & Emmet Whelan, Partner – ByrneWallace

The Irish Court of Appeal recently overturned the decision of the High Court in the case of Nano Nagle School v. Daly, dealing with an employer’s obligation under Irish employment equality law to reasonably accommodate an employee with a disability. The High Court had advocated a “process-based approach” focusing on whether the school in question had undertaken the correct process and had engaged with the employee sufficiently to determine whether she was fit to return to work. The Court of Appeal dismissed this “process-based approach” and advocated a practical approach whereby an employer, who has clearly established the facts of the employee’s disability, is entitled to look at the reality of the situation, and what the employee can and cannot do, when determining whether any reasonable accommodation would accommodate the employee returning to employment.

Effect of Dismissal Notice to Determine Time Limitation for Filing Unfair Dismissal Complaint

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Stephen Kane, Solicitor & Emmet Whelan, Partner – ByrneWallace

The High Court recently examined the issue of when an employee’s dismissal takes effect – whether it is on the day the decision is first communicated to the employee, or the day the appeal process concludes and the decision to dismiss is confirmed to the employee (if the dismissal is appealed). Under the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977 an employee alleging unfair dismissal has 6 months (which can be extended to 12 months in some circumstances) to bring their complaint. Here, the complaint was lodged more than six months after the dismissal was communicated to the employee, but within six months of the outcome of her appeal. The High Court ruled that because the employee’s terms of employment were silent on the implications and effectiveness of the notice of dismissal once issued, the employee was entitled to believe that her dismissal was stayed pending the outcome of an appeal, and therefore, her complaint was not out of time. It is a warning to employers to ensure that the effect of a dismissal notice is clear in any contract or policies and procedures.