LK Shields Employment Law Breakfast Seminar

PUBLISHED: 29th June 2017

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Ciara O'Kennedyof LK Shields presented an interesting and topical seminar on some recent employment law developments covering Whistleblowing in the Workplace and the Workplace Relations Commission.

Whistleblowing in the Workplace

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 has been in force since July 2014 and has been described as one of the most far-reaching and ground-breaking pieces of whistleblowing legislation in the world. The main objective of the act is to protect whistleblowers in the workplace. Making reference to recent high profile examples, Ciara O'Kennedy provided an overview of protections under the act, methods of disclosure and best practice policies and procedures. Key points made by Ciara included:

  • It is vital to have robust whistleblowing policy in place
  • It is important to investigate the protected disclosure, not the discloser
  • Be alive to risk of employees making “protected disclosure” to afford themselves the Act’s protection
  • Ensure disclosures are acted upon promptly and that employees are appropriately trained to deal with protected disclosures (or purported protected disclosures) as they arise
  • Whistleblowing concerns should be easily distinguished from worker’s grievances – policy should include a non-exhaustive list of the types of concerns that may be raised by workers

Workplace Relations Commisions

The Workplace Relations Commission came into force in 2015. Despite being heralded as a “world class” system it has been beset with problems from the outset. LK Shields provided an overview of the practical implications of the new system for employers.  Key points made included:​

  • Inconsistent approach of WRC adjudicators
  • The notice period for hearings can be very short
  • No sworn evidence in adjudication hearings - futher challenges to the adjudication process likely
  • It will take time and political will to fix serious teething issues
  • Despite good intentions, the system as it stands is a missed opportunity to reform employment law 

This breakfast seminar was jointly hosted by the France Ireland Chamber of Commerce and LK Shields.

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