1.What workers are excluded from the protection of the Unfair Dismissals Acts?
•Employees with less than one year’s continuous service, but this does not apply when the dismissal results from pregnancy or trade union activities – dismissal for such reasons is indefensible •Employees who have reached normal retiring age
•Close relatives of the employer, employed and living at the employer’s residence or farm •Members of the Defence Forces or Gardai
•FAS trainees or apprentices
•State employees (except specified industrial grades)
•Officers of a local authority, health board, vocational education committee or county committee of agriculture •Persons working under fixed-term contracts (in some cases) •Persons who, under their contract, ordinarily work outside the State •Persons undergoing promotion or training for a year or less, and this is specified in a written contract of employment •Persons undertaking training for the purpose of obtaining qualifications or registration as a nurse, pharmacist, health inspector, etc. •Persons working under illegal contracts of employment
2.How may an employer justify a dismissal on ‘substantial grounds’?
To justify a dismissal, an employer must show that it resulted from one or more of the following causes, or that there were other ‘substantial grounds’ for the dismissal:
•Lack of skill, or physical or mental ability, or adequate health, or such formal professional or technical qualifications as are appropriate for the work the employee was employed to do •Conduct of the employee of such a serious or continuing nature as to amount to serious misconduct. This will not include isolated acts or behaviour which has not warranted a warning by the employer •Redundancy, in accordance with fair or agreed procedures •The fact that continuation of employment would contravene another statutory restriction. For example, to continue to employ an under-age employee...