July 6, 2020
Data Protection – the Return to Work Safely Protocol
When the Return to Work Safely Protocol was published in May, we outlined the main considerations for employers. You can read this piece here. In this piece, we outlined that...
Performance Management Legal Advice for Employees
If you have reason to believe your employer is using performance management as a mechanism to unfairly or constructively dismiss you, you should seek legal advice from a specialist in employment law. Such situations are, unfortunately, not uncommon, and should be handled robustly, to protect your interests and those of others who may be treated in the same unfair manner.
Performance management may have both positive or negative connotations depending on the intention behind its use. From a positive perspective, businesses and organisations may use performance management to encourage employees to ‘raise the bar’ – perhaps by improving the efficiency, processes, speed, knowledge, and quality of the work they do.
From a less positive standpoint, managers may use a strategy of placing enormous indirect pressure on individual employees with a view to forcing them to make the decision to leave. By managing performance in a way that is deliberately intended to make an employee feel undervalued and ineffective in their role, some employers believe that workers can be ‘managed out’, but they themselves will remain within the law. But by doing so, the employer may be in breach of employment law having carried out an act of constructive dismissal.
Constructive dismissal is deemed to have occurred if an employee leaves their job due to the negative conduct of their employer. Under law, for constructive dismissal to apply, you must have had sufficient reason to terminate your contract of employment. In other words, if you were under reasonable pressure by your employer to meet performance requirements, and you left as a result, this may not be grounds for constructive dismissal.
Under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977–2015, if you do decide to bring a claim for damages due to unfair dismissal, citing unfair performance management, then you must prove your resignation was warranted. This is where Lavelle Partners employment law Solicitors can assist you. To bring a claim for unfair dismissal, you generally (but not always) need to have had at least 12 months of continuous with the employer, and your claim should be brought within 6 months of termination.
It is recommended that prior to terminating your employment, you should endeavour to use any grievance procedures or industrial relations procedures at your disposal. In many cases, taking such action can resolve the matter amicably. And before you do resign, seek the advice of an employment law Solicitor specialising in constructive dismissal to verify your rights and ensure you are doing the right thing.
Lavelle Partners work with Talbot Pierce to provide a seamless service in respect of Human Resource Management. Talbot Pierce are a team of specialist HR professionals who work with us on a range of matters including advice on and delivery of conflict/dispute resolution solutions, best-practice HR strategies, policies and procedures.
For further information on workplace performance management in Ireland, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800.
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