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4
May 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

The Vaccine & The New World of Work Webinar

With vaccination rollout currently underway across Ireland employers are beginning to look at returning a number of their employees to the workplace over the coming months which means plans need to be in place and actions need to be carried out to ensure it is as smooth and safe a return as possible.

We recently hosted a webinar recently which detailed for our customers how best to tackle returning their employees to the workplace including implementing a vaccine policy. To view the webinar recording click below:

Bright Contracts has recently updated its software to include a COVID-19 vaccine policy applicable to any business/ industry. This policy is in addition to the COVID-19 Response Plan and Temporary Working From Home Policy currently available on Bright Contracts.

You can avail of a free trial of the software or purchase a Bright Contracts licence to adapt these policies to your business today. If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Contract of employment, Coronavirus, Customer Update, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Update, GDPR, Health & Safety, Software Upgrade

11
Sep 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Employee awarded maximum unfair dismissal compensation

The Labor Court has recently ruled that a driver was unfairly dismissed after he was involved in three road accidents. The driver was awarded €72,042, equating to two years remuneration - the maximum compensation which could be awarded.

Background

Mr. Coughlan was employed as a van driver for DHL for 11 years. In 2012 he was involved in a road accident to which he received a written warning. In 2013 he was involved in a second road accident where he received a final warning. The warnings were ‘live’ for 12 months, after which they expired. The claimant was involved in a third road accident in 2015 to which damages to the van amounted to €2,500. By that time both previous warnings had expired and he was brought into a disciplinary hearing for “failure to protect and safeguard company property”.

During the hearing Mr. Coughlan took responsibility for his misjudgment which led to the accident. Throughout the hearing numerous references were made to the expired incidents. Mr. Coughlan was dismissed with immediate effect for gross misconduct on the basis that he had failed to protect and safeguard company property.

Finding

The WRC found the dismissal unreasonable and ordered reinstatement. At the appeal to the Labor Court, DHL argued that they had no other choice but to dismiss Mr. Coughlan as their faith in his driving abilities was lost. Although his previous warnings had expired, the company felt that they had to take his entire working history into consideration. The Court determined that the 2015 incident, in isolation to the previous warnings was not sufficient to dismiss. It also took into consideration the company’s failure to consider alternative positions within the organisation for Mr. Coughlan.

Learning Points

This case highlights something we see time again, the importance of practicing fair procedures when considering dismissal. It highlights the importance of employers showing that they had considered alternative roles where possible before dismissal – something that is often noted in unfair dismissal cases. Lastly, the enormous amount awarded to Mr. Coughlan reminds employers of the costly consequence unfair dismissal can have on their business.

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Employment Tribunals, Health & Safety, Pay/Wage, Staff Handbook

29
Jun 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

€10K awarded to steeple worker who was told to “wing it” with no harness

The Workplace Relations Commissioner has awarded €10k to a worker for unfair dismissal when he was dismissed after suffering a back injury while carrying out work on a scaffold in with no safety equipment.

The complainant’s role was to make digital prints and then fit the products to buildings or vehicles. If the job required two people, then the complainant was accompanied by the respondent otherwise he went on his own.

In September of 2015 while working on site in Belfast he was “required to work at heights without a harness”. He said he was also told to operate a cherry picker even though he did not hold a license to do so. The court also heard that later in the month the complainant was previously told to ‘wing it’ when doing installation work on a church steeple with no harness.

In November 2015 the complainant injured his back while working on a scaffold with no safety harness and was on certified sick leave for 9 days. He said that while he was on sick leave he saw his job being advertised, the ad was later removed when he raised concerns with his boss.

In July 2016 while back on site, the complainant said he left a job he believed to be a health and safety risk when he was asked to work at a height of 15m without a harness. He later made a formal complaint to his employer but left 15 minutes into the meeting for being verbally abused for not completing the job. The complainant said he was constructively dismissed and had not worked since.

Finding

The officer who heard the case said that she found the complaint was “well founded” based on the uncontested evidence. The respondent didn’t attend the hearing. She directed the respondent to pay the worker €10,000 within 42 days of the ruling.

Learning Points

There are many things to take away from this case, first and foremost that the health and safety of an employee under no circumstance should ever be compromised. This case highlights the importance for employers in all industry's to carry out their own risk assessments. Employers should also note the importance of not only having a clear grievance and dispute procedures for staff to reference but for the employer to follow them correctly.

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Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Health & Safety, Sick Leave/Absence Management, Staff Handbook

9
Nov 13

Posted by
Ann Tighe

€27,300: The Average Cost of Workplace Accidents to Employers

Last year €22m in total in Ireland was paid out in compensation for workplace accidents. For a small business with limited cash reserves, compensating an injured employee can be the difference between survival and insolvency.

There are practical steps that businesses can take to protect themselves and their employees, since most workplace injuries are preventable.

Slips, trips and falls are the largest cause of accidents in all sectors.  Last year they accounted for 33pc of all claims.

One in five of those slips or trips resulted in employees missing a month of work, or more. 25% of all workplaces surveyed by HSA inspectors had not carried out a Slip, Trip and Fall risk assessment.

Prevention can only be achieved by employers leading the way on risk management through robust health and safety initiatives.

Steps to assist in avoiding avoidable accidents:

  • Nominate one person per shift to take charge of cleaning up spills as it creates a chain of responsibility 
  • Erect caution signs in the event of a spill              - Clean up spills immediately and prevent access to the wet surface
  • Fit mats with weights in areas of high footfall
  • Good Lighting and clear identification of ground level changes like unexpected steps are vital.

Proper management of Workplace Safety and Health contribute to long-term commercial success and profitability!

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Posted in Health & Safety, SME

11
Oct 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

World Mental Health Day

10th October was World Mental Health Day. This is a good opportunity for employers to consider how the working environment affects mental health.

Across Europe, job-related stress is increasing. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work found that 80% of the working population of Europe think the number of people suffering from job-related stress will increase. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), stress has become the biggest cause of long-term absence for non-manual workers in the UK. Work place stress will cause disengaged employees, with reduced productivity resulting in a loss of profitability for organisations.

It is reported that the main causes of work related stress are:

  • Workload
  • Non-work relationships/family
  • Management style/relationships at work
  • Organisational change
  • Pressure to meet targets

To prevent stress becoming an issue in your work place look out for signs (e.g. increased absences, less sociable than usual), communicate regularly with the employee to discuss whether they require additional assistance.

Putting policies in place that clearly set out The Company’s commitment to assist employees suffering from stress will also help. Such policies might include anti-harassment/bullying policies, family friendly policies and grievance policies. For further information on how you might implement any of these policies read more at www.brightcontracts.ie.

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Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Health & Safety, Sick Leave/Absence Management