New Employment Law Fines

Key Contacts: Patrick Walshe – Partner

LAW – New Employment Law Fines

New fines for breaches of certain employment laws were recently introduced in The Workplace Relations Act 2015 (Fixed Payment Notice) Regulations 2023.

The Regulations state that where employers fail to consult with employees’ representatives and provide them with mandatory information where there is a collective redundancy the fine is €2,000.

A €1,500 fine applies when an employer fails to provide an employee with terms of employment within one month of the start date of their employment or provides false/misleading information to an employee.

When an employer fails to provide an employee with a written statement of wages and the nature and amount of any deductions from wages the fine is €1,500.

A €1,500 fine applies when an employer does not provide an employee with a statement of their average hourly rate of pay for a pay reference period on request by the employee.
Where an employer fails to provide employees with a written statement on the distribution of tips and gratuities or fails to treat a service charge as a tip the fine is €750, and finally, a €500 applies where an employer does not display a ‘tips and gratuities notice’ or a ‘contract workers tips and gratuities notice’.

COURTS – Right to Silence in the Employment Context

The High Court recently handed down an interesting decision in relation to the right to silence in an employment law context, and in circumstances where there is a concurrent criminal investigation being conducted.

It was alleged that certain ESB employees, including the Defendant, were demanding cash payments for expediting the completion of works by the ESB. This was subsequently reported to An Garda Síochána, who commenced an investigation into the matter.

ESB asked the Defendant to provide answers to questions relating to involvement in the alleged offences. The letter referred to the Defendant’s contractual obligation to cooperate with ESB and his obligation to ‘obey all reasonable and lawful directions’ of the ESB. The Plaintiff argued that the Defendant, in refusing to answer the questions, repudiated his contract of employment or alternatively, his contract of employment can be treated as having been terminated.

The court ultimately held that the Defendant was entitled to refuse to comply with the directions issued to him for the time being. However, this right will cease as soon as the criminal investigation has finished, or when interest in performance by the Defendant of his contractual obligations outweighs the risk of infringement the constitutionally protected right to silence.

 

 

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