Ireland Employment & Labour Law

Author:Ms Susan Battye
  1. Does an employer need a reason in order to lawfully terminate an employment relationship? If so, describe what reasons are lawful in your jurisdiction?

    Under common law, an employer can terminate an employment relationship for no reason provided the employer terminates in accordance with the contract of employment, including giving notice. However, "no fault" dismissals carry certain risks. An employee could seek to restrain their dismissal by way of an injunction in particular circumstances, therefore legal advice should be obtained before terminating employment without cause.

    Under statute, the dismissal of an employee is presumed to be unfair unless the employer can show substantial grounds justifying the dismissal. To bring a claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2015, an employee must normally have one year's continuous service, but there are limited exceptions to this qualification.

    The following are considered fair reasons for dismissal:

    redundancy reasons relating to the capability, competence or qualifications of the employee reasons relating to the conduct of the employee an employee being unable to work or continue to work without the employer contravening its legal obligations Certain dismissals are automatically unfair for any of the following reasons:

    membership or proposed membership of a trade union or engaging in trade union activities religious or political opinions legal proceedings against an employer where the employee is a party or witness race, colour, sexual orientation, age or membership of the Traveller community pregnancy, giving birth or breastfeeding or any matters connected with pregnancy or birth availing of rights under legislation to maternity leave, adoptive leave, paternity leave, carer's leave, parental leave or force majeure leave unfair selection for redundancy making a protected disclosure (i.e. whistle-blowing) In addition to proving that there were fair reasons for dismissing an employee, an employer must also show that it followed fair procedures in effecting the dismissal and that it acted reasonably in all the circumstances.

    An employee can try to restrain their dismissal by a statutory injunction if they can demonstrate substantial grounds to contend that their dismissal would not have occurred but for having made a protected disclosure.

    In addition, dismissal based on any of the nine discriminatory grounds is unlawful under the Employment...

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