Employment & Benefits

Our Employment & Benefits team offers high quality advice on complex employment issues, including regulatory matters, whistle-blowing and corporate immigration, as well as the specialist areas of health and safety and employee incentives.  The team has particular skill in advising on general employment matters including employment terms and incentives, statutory rights and obligations, unfair dismissals, equality, redundancy and terminations. Our clients include many leading multinational and Irish companies, public sector organisations and senior-level employees. 

We approach employment law issues with a view to securing commercially desirable outcomes for our clients and we deliver our advice promptly and with clarity. We draw on the expertise of our colleagues in other specialist departments of William Fry on related areas of the law, such as data protection, intellectual property rights and taxation, to provide a comprehensive service.

Our team has advised on the employment aspects of many of the major corporate transactions in Ireland over the past several years.  We have successfully represented clients in a number of High Court and Supreme Court cases in which the judgements handed down have clarified key points of Irish employment law.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Advising on all legal issues relating to the employment relationship
  • Representing clients before the civil courts and the Workplace Relations Commission in employment disputes such as discrimination claims, unfair dismissal cases, breach of contract actions, injunction proceedings and prosecutions
  • Industrial relations
  • Employment aspects of business sales, group reorganisations, corporate recovery, insolvencies and outsourcings
  • Employee share plans
  • Bespoke employment law training sessions for HR personnel
  • Corporate immigration
  • Health & Safety 


Twitter Follow us on @WFEmployment for regular employment law updates and news.

 

Age in the Workplace

Our 'Age in the Workplace, Employment Report 2019' looked at some of the current issues around two well debated topics - an ageing workforce and mandatory retirement. Click here to download a full copy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the video below to watch Catherine O'Flynn discuss 'Social Media In The Workplace – The Boundaries With The Employment Relationship' for the Law Society of Ireland.

Our experience includes:

  • Advising market leaders in almost all industry sectors including DCC, B&Q, Marsh Ireland Ltd, CPL, Hitachi, Boots, Diageo, Digital Realty Trust and Smurfit Kappa Group. 
  • Representing B&Q Ireland Limited in a four-day High Court Appeal judgment which clarified the law in Ireland in relation to bonus and allowance payments.
  • Acted as Lead Counsel for Tesco during the the outsourcing of its entertainment sections in 80 Tesco stores throughout Ireland
  • Acted as advisor and counsel to Hasbro Inc. in its purchase of well-known Irish animation company Boulder Media.
  • Advised the AA, the UK’s largest breakdown cover organisation, on the sale of its Irish business and operations, AA Ireland Limited, to US-Irish private equity fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland.  
  • Advised on the largest real estate related transaction in the history of the Irish State, we acted for the joint venture in acquiring ownership of a number of assets that were owned and developed by Chartered Land, including Dundrum Town Centre (Ireland’s largest shopping centre).
  • Representing our client in an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal, the judgement in which is regarded as setting out the most current position in Irish law in the context of health & safety in the workplace. 
  • Acting for Dunnes Stores in a landmark Supreme Court appeal overturning the judgment of the High Court granting damages for wrongful dismissal and in respect of personal injury.
  • Advising SOLAS and B&Q on an ongoing basis on health and safety issues.
  • Advising a number of major corporations on severance agreements with senior executives.
  • Advising a number of employers in relation to 'team moves' by former employees and, in one case, obtaining and executing an Anton Piller Order against former employees. 

Update: WRC Postpones Face-To-Face Adjudication Hearings In Dublin

The WRC has announced that Dublin based physical face-to-face adjudication, conciliations and mediation meetings scheduled for the week commencing 21 September 2020 will be postponed.


Protected Disclosures: 2020 Case Law Updates and Key Takeaways for Employers

Two recent decisions in the Circuit Court and High Court provide important guidance in the context of interim protection under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 and unfair dismissal proceedings.


"Buy-Out" and "Free Transfer" Clauses in Soccer Contracts– a "Messi" Affair

The world of soccer was set alight in recent weeks as Lionel Messi, widely recognised as one of the greatest footballers of all time, showed an intention to end his contract with FC Barcelona prematurely.


Chambers Employment Law Guide 2020 - Ireland

William Fry's Employment & Benefits Group were delighted to be asked to contribute the Ireland chapter of the Chambers Employment Law Guide 2020.


How to Manage Pandemic-Related PCF Vacancies

Central Bank issues guidance on the appointment of temporary PCFs in the event of a pandemic-related PCF vacancy


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Department

  •  William Fry's Employment & Benefits team is "resourced with top quality individuals who are on top of their game in terms of legal skills and knowledge." One client mentions the team "are very commercial in their outlook – and focused on helping clients achieve their preferred objectives. I have found them very approachable and straightforward in their advice." They have also been described as having "a wealth of experience in dealing with complex employee share schemes and are pragmatic and solutions focused in navigating challenges." One client notes that their "strengths are their knowledge of the industry and their expertise in the field. They keep up to date with emerging topics/issues, are quick to advise on them and proactive in bringing important issues to the table." Legal 500 2020
  • "I really trust their judgement," says an impressed client, adding: "They are innovative in mitigating risk and they make complex things seem straightforward." Another source is emphatic in their praise for the lawyers: "Their advice is very thorough and the team is extremely responsive. It is the personal touch I am most impressed with." Chambers Europe 2020
  • William Fry "will go beyond the brief to ensure that its advice is practical as well as legally sound". Legal 500 2019
  • An interviewee appreciates the team's "very clear and uncomplicated advice". Another source is grateful that the lawyers"are really approachable and speak in layman's terms, highlighting the associated risks". Chambers Europe 2019 
  • A client notes: "Their work in my experience has always been of the highest quality. The advice is practical and relevant and always geared towards the best interests of the client," adding: "They have an in-depth knowledge of our business which guarantees that the advice provided is always relevant." Another client says: "Not only are they extremely knowledgeable, innovative in their advice and commercially minded, they are also a down-to-earth, unassuming and approachable team of solicitors." Chambers Europe, 2018
  • Interviewees say the group is "very capable, pragmatic and customer-focused. They bring a wealth of experience to employment and pensions law issues and provide responsive, practical and effective solutions to critical issues." Other clients refer to a "top-class service" from the department, advising: "It is a very collegial team that is very careful and considered about its advice and always on point. It is particularly good in complex or sensitive scenarios." Sources explain that the "partners are receptive, responsive, experienced and provide added value, as well as very good legal advice. There is a good breadth and depth in terms of back-up resources, and all cross-border work is handled expertly." Chambers Europe 2017
  • "The firm's advice is of the highest quality and based on solid research and case studies. It is also highly tailored and relevant. Working with this firm is an educational experience." Chambers Europe, 2016
  • "I would rate William Fry's performance very highly. Apart from mastery of the technical aspects of the work, I find the firm pragmatic and commercial when it comes to pension-related matters and it acts as a partner to us in delivering optimal solutions." Chambers Europe, 2016
  • The team at William Fry takes ‘a highly professional, informed and engaging approach.’ Legal 500 EMEA 2016

Team

Catherine O'Flynn
  •  According to Legal 500 2020, one client described Catherine as "a stand-out employment lawyer" and has "the full range of expertise and maintains a high profile with indigenous and international corporates." Another client noted that Catherine "is an excellent and experienced advisor, providing pragmatic guidance on issues of Irish employment law. She would always be my first port of call as trusted counsel in Ireland, on anything complex or strategic."
  • Sources laud Catherine's approach to mandates, with one client reporting: "Her advice is very pragmatic and she always explains very complex situations in easily understandable language." Chambers Europe 2020
  • "She is an extremely capable individual with a great understanding of our business. She has a keen academic brain and is a great asset to the team." Chambers Europe 2019
  • One client particularly appreciates that "she is decisive, reassuring, incredibly efficient and effective," adding: "You feel safe under her direction." Chambers Europe 2018
  • Catherine O’Flynn is ‘incredibly effective’. Legal 500 EMEA 2018 
  • Sources describe her as "very astute, direct and diplomatic." Chambers Europe 2017 
  • Sources say "She has an ability to ask the right questions and provide clarity on the key elements and possible courses of action." Chambers Europe 2016 

Alicia Compton

  • In Chambers Europe 2020, one source highlights Alicia as "an asset to any client for her practical style and expert advice."  Another impressed client reports: "She figures out the best possible outcome for her client and works relentlessly to accomplish it. She thinks and acts with complete clarity and can express the most complicated and convoluted problems in an understandable manner."
  • According to Legal 500 EMEA 2020, one client said "I work principally with Alicia Compton. She is outstanding. Her key attributes are that she is outcome focused, pragmatic, crystal clear in her thinking and advice, exudes calm, and will tackle any problem. She also leads a strong team very well." Another client noted that "Alicia is one of Ireland’s top employment lawyers. She is always on top of her brief and her down to earth practical approach to problem solving is worth gold." 
  • One impressed client states: "She has extensive experience and knowledge of our business and can provide advice in a most practical and efficient way. She has an uncanny knack of being able to see through the mire and understand where the real problem lies." Chambers Europe 2019
  • Alicia is described as a 'most trusted adviser'. Legal 500 EMEA 2019
  • Alicia Compton is ‘extremely innovative’. Legal 500 EMEA 2018 
  • Alicia Compton is ‘one of Ireland’s leading practitioners’. Chambers Europe 2017 
  • Clients comment that Alicia has "intricate knowledge of our business and backs us proactively at every turn. It's almost like she is a part of our company, rather than an external provider. Fantastic!". Chambers Europe 2016
  • Alicia's  "keen legal brain and common sense result in excellent outcomes". Legal 500 EMEA 2016 

Michael Wolfe

  • Michael Wolfe  continues to impress the market with his unrivaled experience in the pensions arena. One client describes him as "top of his area of expertise," while another appreciates his "level of detail, swiftness of response and clarity." Chambers Europe 2019
  • The "utterly reliable" Michael Wolfe is a seasoned practitioner with impressive knowledge of pensions law. Clients say: "He is very responsive, knowledgeable and can deal with individuals at all levels." Chambers Europe 2017 
  • Sources state: "He has great knowledge of the industry in Ireland and comes up with creative solutions for difficult problems." Chambers Europe, 2016

Maura Roe

  • According to Legal 500 2020, one source notes that "Maura is hugely experienced in employee share option schemes and is always pragmatic and solutions focused." 
  • Market sources praise Maura's "commercial and pragmatic advice." Chambers Europe 2020 
  • Clients describe Maura as "practical, pragmatic, well informed, easy to deal with and very level-headed." Chambers Europe 2019
  • The 'standout' Maura Roe. Legal 500 EMEA 2019
  • Maura, whom one client calls ‘the foremost expert in Ireland on shares and share options’Chambers Europe 2017 

Key Contacts

Alicia Compton Partner

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