Archive RSS
Blog  »  June 2014
Jun 14

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Questions that can't be asked at a job interview

It’s no secret that hiring is one of the biggest challenges of managing and growing a productive team.

At interviews we want to obtain important information, but also build a friendly rapport with the candidate. But some questions are just a little too friendly. Over stepping the mark could leave you guilty of discrimination and your company potentially facing an expensive claim.

Employment and equality legislation doesn’t just start once you hire someone, it’s applicable the moment you post a job advert. Those with responsibility for hiring need to be aware of this and avoid precarious comments and questions.

As a general rule of thumb avoid questions that are related to age, marital and family status, gender, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation, race, membership of the travelling community, or any physical attributes of the candidate.

Do’s and Don’ts

OK: What days can you work? What hours can you work?

Not OK: How many children do you have? Do you have a babysitter available if we need you on a weekend? Do the working hours fit with your childcare?

OK: Do you have any responsibilities that would interfere with traveling for us?

Not OK: Do you have a baby or small child at home?

OK: Are you legally eligible to work here?

Not OK: What country are you from?

OK: This job requires someone who speaks more than one language. What languages do you speak or write fluently?

Not OK: What's your native language?

OK: Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

Not OK: Have you ever been arrested? Do you take illegal drugs?

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Jun 14

Posted by
Caroline Malone

Social Media Dismissal Case

As reported recently in The Sunday Independent, a decision, by the Employment Appeals Tribunal, clarifies the muddy legal waters surrounding misuse of the internet at work – and sets a clear precedent that spending working hours dawdling on personal Twitter and Facebook accounts is not grounds for dismissal. The recently published decision awarded €7,000 to an employee who was dismissed for looking at social media sites on her office computer during work hours.

The court determined her dismissal was unfair despite the fact that she had been warned about this behaviour several times by her employer on previous occasions. This is the first Irish case to directly address whether social media use at work is, in and of itself, grounds for dismissal. "While previous case law has involved secondary issues such as reputational damage to the employer and procedural errors in the carrying out of dismissals, this case is of particular interest as the dismissal itself and the tribunal's decision directly related to the employee's use of social media while at work," said Catherine O'Flynn, employment law expert at Dublin solicitors William Fry. The employee in question worked as a marketing assistant for an electrical company. The company's managing director told the tribunal that he and the office manager had verbally warned her on a number of occasions about her non-work related internet useage. In January 2012, he caught her on a social media site and fired her on the spot."He believed that the actions of the claimant amounted to a waste of the company's time and resources and her actions constituted gross misconduct," tribunal documents noted. The tribunal ruled that this was unfair and that there were no valid grounds for dismissal. It was influenced, it said, by the fact that the employee had not been supplied with either a contract of employment or an internet and social media policy during her employment. In her evidence, she stated that had she been aware of the company's internet policy, she would have abided by it. It also noted the employee's claims that she had completed all work assigned to her and that her requests for more work were ignored. She said that most of the time she spent on the internet was work related, and that any non-work related use was done openly and out of boredom. Her desk and computer were in full view to others in her office, she said, and she never believed that she was doing anything wrong. "The Employment Appeals Tribunal in this case emphasised the importance of having a social media policy in place and communicating it to all employees."It is therefore vital for employers to have a detailed and specific social media policy in place and to ensure that employees read it and understand it. "It is evident from these survey results that many employers are yet to put in place social media policies. Employers who do not have a social media policy in place are vulnerable to expensive litigation.”

Bright Contracts includes policies relating to Email, Internet and Telecommunications Use as well as Social Media within its staff handbook.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company Handbook, Contract of employment

Jun 14

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Changes to Holiday Pay Calculations

As we enter the summer holiday season employers need to ensure that they are paying their employees correctly during annual leave.

A recent decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will impact how some annual leave pay is calculated.
Do you pay employee’s commission? Is the commission calculated based on the amount of sales made or actual work carried out? If yes, according to the ECJ, holiday pay should include commission pay.

The decision was made in the case of Locke v British Gas Trading and Others. Locke was a Sales Representative whose commission made up approximately 60% of his remuneration. After taking two weeks leave in 2011, Locke suffered financially as he was unable to generate sales for the period he was on annual leave.

The ECJ ruled that the purpose of annual leave is to allow a worker to enjoy a period of rest and relaxation with sufficient pay. By not including commission payments with holiday pay, employees are less likely to take annual leave so as to avoid financial hardship.

It has been left to the national courts to determine how to calculate the commission to which a worker is entitled, however the court did suggest that taking an average amount of commission earned over a certain period, e.g. the previous 12 months.

Employers are advised to review their commission policies to establish which, if any, payments need to be included in annual leave pay.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Annual Leave, Contract of employment, Employment Update, Pay/Wage