Irish Employment Law: The thought of losing your job is fast becoming a reality for many people throughout Ireland. Losing your job is devastating. And the crushing blow is even worse when you’re dealing with an employer who refuses to play by the rules.
The rules governing redundancies are set out under Irish employment law.
An employee must meet certain criteria to qualify for redundancy but once these initial hurdles are scaled, we find disputes tend to involve two main issues:
Is the redundancy genuine and has the employee been fairly selected.
In plain English – is the employer playing by the rules or are they using redundancy as an excuse to get rid of a particular employee.
Irish Employment Law: Redundancy Must Be Genuine
There’s no denying that businesses in Ireland have taken a hit in the last few years and will continue to do so going forward. There are a number of situations that give rise to genuine redundancy situations:
-An employer ceases the business.
-Your employer no longer needs employees in your category or his need for employees in your category has diminished.
-Your employer has decided to carry on the business with fewer or no staff.
-Your employer has decided that your work will be done in a different way and you are not sufficiently qualified or trained to do the work in the different way.
-Your employer has decided that your work will be done by another person who can do other work as well and you are not sufficiently qualified or trained to do that other work.
So essentially in a genuine redundancy situation under Irish employment law, an employee’s position becomes redundant as opposed to the actual employee. As I said, there are many situations of genuine redundancy in today’s market.
Irish Employment Law: Fair Selection
Once we have established that there is a genuine redundancy situation, we then consider whether the employee was fairly selected under Irish employment law. A boss can’t just get rid of you because he doesn’t particularly like you. This is where we see many complaints from employees and indeed there is a rise in the number of cases of this kind being brought before the Employment Appeals Tribunal under Irish employment law.
In selecting a particular employee for redundancy, an employer must apply a reasonable selection criteria and apply this criteria in a fair manner under Irish employment law. You are entitled to bring a claim for unfair dismissal if you consider that you were unfairly selected for redundancy or consider that a genuine redundancy situation did not exist. What is considered ‘fair’ may depend on the industry and particular business. For example, if your company has always selected people for redundancy on the basis of last in, first out and your selection did not follow this procedure, we would have to ask why. Furthermore, under Irish employment law and specifically under unfair dismissals legislation, selection for redundancy based on certain specific grounds is considered unfair. These include redundancy as the result of an employee’s trade union activity, pregnancy or religious or political opinions.
Irish employment law and in particular Employment Equality Legislation also prohibits selection for redundancy that is based on any of the nine discriminatory grounds.
So there’s a lot for employers to consider. And a lot for employees to be aware of.
The overwhelming principle throughout redundancy legislation is this idea of fairness. Okay, your job might possibly be gone, but as an employee remember you are still entitled to be treated in a fair and clear manner and this is set out in Irish employment law.
Find out more about Irish employment law.