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Top Five Employment Law Issues in 2019

AUTHOR(S): Bryan Dunne
KEY CONTACT(S): Geraldine Carr, Niall Pelly, Russell Rochford
PRACTICE AREA GROUP: Employment, Pensions and Benefits
DATE: 18.12.2019

Looking back on 2019, we saw lots of interesting developments across many areas of employment law.  Some of the major talking points and themes for employers over this period included the Supreme Court decisions on reasonable accommodation in Nano Nagle and McKelvey and Irish Rail on legal representation at disciplinary hearings.

We invite you to revisit our top five most popular briefings and podcasts from 2019 in this update.

1. Legal Representation at Internal Disciplinary Hearings 

In Irish Rail v McKelvey, the Irish Supreme Court upheld an earlier Court of Appeal decision from 2018, confirming in very clear terms that legal representation should only be permitted at an internal disciplinary hearing in exceptional circumstances.

Listen to our podcast on the earlier background and the Supreme Court decision here.

2. Employment, Pensions and Benefits Seminar - Beyond Retirement Age

In June of this year, Geraldine Carr, a partner in the Employment team and Jane McKeever, a senior associate in the Pensions team hosted a seminar on working beyond retirement age. They were joined by Garry Clarke, a senior retirement consultant with Aon. Deirdre Cummins, a partner in the Pensions team, chaired the discussion.

The panel discussed the various legal issues that arise for employers and pension scheme trustees when employees wish to work beyond their contractual retirement age. This included analysis of the current position in Ireland on mandatory retirement ages and how employers are dealing with requests to work beyond that age, including how pensions may be affected. The panel also discussed whether these arrangements could raise any discrimination concerns.

Listen to the podcast here.

3. What does Brexit mean for employers in Ireland?

In this podcast we reviewed some of the areas of Irish employment and benefits law and practice that employers need to consider as Brexit approaches (again!).

Listen to the podcast here.

4. How far does an employer have to go to reasonably accommodate a disability? 

The Supreme Court judgement in Nano Nagle clarified the extent of an employer’s obligation in providing reasonable accommodation in the workplace, overturning the earlier pre-employer Court of Appeal decision but still not going so far as the original Labour and High Court decisions.  Take a look at our podcast and article on the decision and what it means for you and your business.

Listen to the podcast here and read our website update on the case here.

5. Fitnesss and Probity / the CBI SEAR proposals 

In a recent decision of the Labour Court, an earlier finding of unfair dismissal for a bank employee who encouraged a customer to forge her ex-husband’s signature on a cheque was overturned, following an appeal by the employer.  See our article on the original decision and the recent Labour Court appeal here

Over the course of 2019, we also saw increased commentary from the CBI on its proposals for a Senior Executive Accountability Regime (“the SEAR”), with draft legislation now expected in the coming months.  You can review further insights from Derville Rowland, Head of Financial Conduct at the CBI,  into the proposals in her speech at a Matheson industry event on the SEAR proposals held in October 2019 here.


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