LIFE BITE: Making False Declarations to Your Employer

apple-150579_1280A Scottish bus driver, Harry Clarke, who failed to disclose to his employer that he had suffered previous black outs before he blacked out at the wheel of a bin lorry in Glasgow caused the tragic deaths of 6 people with a further 15 others being injured.

The Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) was told by a previous employer of Mr Clarke’s that he had blacked out in 2010 yet there was no record of this on a DVLA assessment form in 2011.

In his job application for Glasgow City Council, Mr Clarke made no reference to his previous black out in 2010 or that he had been declared as suffering from vasovagal (faint).

Mr Clarke has accepted that he will not return to work as a driver however, he will in all likelihood now face disciplinary action by his employer for making a false declaration on his job application.

The importance of giving true and accurate information when being medically assessed for a job cannot be underestimated for an individual’s own safety, their colleagues and members of the public.

Making a false declaration on your job application is a significant breach of trust in the employment relationship.   It is vitally important to provide your employer with true and accurate information. Should your employer subsequently discover that a false declaration has been made by you, it will in all probability leave you open to disciplinary action which may result in your dismissal.

MGavinToday’s Life Bite was provided by Mary Gavin who is an Employment Law Solicitor at Francis Hanna & Co.    for further information on this topic or on unfair dismissal in general, please feel free to contact Mary by email on
For more information on unfair dismissal read our blog article

LIFE BITE: Lord Behaving Badly : Gross Misconduct in the Workplace?

apple-150579_1280This week, there has been public outrage at media revelations surrounding House of Lords peer Lord Sewel allegedly taking drugs with prostitutes.

Lord Sewel had been urged to resign from the House of Lords after video footage was published in The Sun newspaper of him snorting cocaine.

The  House of Lords (Suspension and Expulsion) Act 2015 allows peers to be barred from Parliament if they breach the code of conduct.  The code states that members must “always act on their personal honour”.

Most of us in our jobs will be required to adhere to an appropriate code of conduct which is set out by our employers. This code of conduct may apply to both our behaviour in and out of the workplace.

Whilst your employer must normally follow certain procedures in order to dismiss you from your job, if your behaviour in or outside of the workplace amounts to gross misconduct they may be able to automatically dismiss you without going through the normal disciplinary procedures.

For more information on this area, please read our blog on Unfair Dismissal or alternatively contact us directly.

Redundancy: What An Employer Needs To Know


Gerry Daly is the Employment Law Partner in Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors with almost 40 years experience in this field.
In his guest blog for Life Law NI, he has set out some of the factors that employers need to consider when dealing with possible redundancies within their business
As many of you already know and others are unfortunately going to find out in the current economic climate, downsizing your business and considering redundancies is a prospect you may have to face.
This is a grim prospect for you as a business owner but more particularly for your affected employees.
It is therefore vital that you as an employer handle this process fairly and in a manner that protects you from any potential unfair dismissal claims made by your employees.

What do I need to look at when considering redundancies?

When handling redundancies, you will be deemed to be acting fairly both morally and legally if you treat the matter with ‘RESPECT’, that is;-

R = Redundancy

You must be able to show that a genuine redundancy situation exists in your business

E = Employees

You should ensure that your employees are fully consulted about the redundancy situation.

S = Selection

You must use objective and verifiable criteria when you are considering which roles are to be made redundant

P = Procedure

You should follow the 3 step dismissal procedure:-

  1. Inform the employee in writing of the circumstances which are leading to you considering redundancies, invite them to a meeting to discuss the matter and warn them that a possible outcome is dismissal.
  2. Hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the proposed redundancies. An outcome of the meeting must be provided and your employee must be informed of their right of appeal.
  3. If your employee chooses to exercise the right of appeal, an appeal hearing must be held and a final decision provided
E = Employment

You should consider whether there are any alternative job roles that could be filled by those being made redundant in order to avoid the redundancy.

C = Calculation

You need to ensure that the correct redundancy payment is calculated

T = Termination

You must ensure that a letter is sent to the employee confirming the end of their employment

The underlying legal principle when considering redundancies is that of reasonableness – i.e. have you as an employer behaved reasonably in all of the circumstances towards your employee when handling their redundancy?

Before embarking on this process you should ask yourself whether you need independent legal advice.
My recommendation is that you should instruct an employment lawyer to handle the process. This will ensure that it is handled objectively and not contaminated with emotion which could end up costing you dearly.

Gerry Daly

Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors

If you wish to contact Gerry for more information on this area, please contact him at or alternatively let us have your comments below.


Unfair Dismissal – Your Questions Answered

you're firedGenerally speaking, in life your main concern is likely to be both your own and your family’s health and wellbeing.  If that’s in place then our next focus tends to be our jobs.

It makes sense – most of us (unfortunately!) spend the majority of our time each week working.   Many of us are lucky enough to enjoy what we do for a living – many of us far from enjoy it! But either way, we all work to pay the bills and have money for the things we want to do in life.

Should things go wrong at work, it often causes worry and stress but, what can you do?  

Worst case scenario: You are sacked by your employer.

You may ask yourself:-

“How will I pay the bills?

”How will I get another job?” 

“How can they do this to me?”

The Jobs and Benefits Office can help with the first two questions but I can help with the third.

If you are asking yourself how they can do this to you, you are also probably thinking that the reason and how you were sacked was unfair. Unfair dismissal is by far the most common query I deal with, but that does not in itself make it straightforward problem.

I have listed some of the most common queries below should you find yourself in this position:-

Do I have the right to claim unfair dismissal?

In order to claim that you were unfairly dismissed, you must firstly have worked for at least one year with your current employer – if you haven’t you unfortunately don’t have the right to make a claim. There are exceptions to this rule (for example, if you feel you were discriminated against) however the general rule is that if you’ve been in your job less than one year, you can’t claim unfair dismissal.

Is my dismissal unfair?

Whether a dismissal is unfair depends on whether the employer had a fair reason to end your employment. If they did have a fair reason to dismiss you, it must also be considered whether the matter was dealt with fairly. If you believe that neither the dismissal nor the way it was dealt with was fair, you may have a claim against your employer.

What is a fair reason for dismissal?

An employer can fairly dismiss an employee for one of the following reasons

  • Capability – it was thought that you were not capable of doing the job
  • Conduct – you have behaved in a way that makes it reasonable for you to be dismissed
  • Redundancy – your job is no longer required
  • Some other substantial reason – for example, business re-organisation.

It is for your employer to show what the reason for the dismissal was.

In addition to showing that the dismissal was fair and reasonable, your employer would also have to show that a fair procedure had been followed.

Is there a time limit for making a claim?

Yes, a claim for unfair dismissal must be brought within 3 months of the date of your dismissal. This is a short and strict time limit! You should therefore seek advice as soon as possible once you have been dismissed as otherwise a potential claim may be out of time and you would be prevented from taking a case against your former employer.

MGavinThis guest blog comes from Mary Gavin, Associate Solicitor in the Employment Law Department of Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors.  If you have any further questions about unfair dismissal or require any further advice on this area, Mary Gavin can be contacted at Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors or by email on

As always, we love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave us your comments below.