Employment

Our Employment Group excels in providing practical and commercially focused advice on all issues arising in the course of the employment relationship.

Our clients include leading multinational and Irish companies, public sector organisations and senior executives.   Arising from William Fry’s prominence in M&A work, a significant portion of our practice involves the employment aspects of takeovers and business sales.  

We represent clients in claims before the EAT, the Equality Tribunal, Rights Commissioners, the Labour Court, the High Court and the Supreme Court.

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Recruitment
  • Equality
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Disciplinary investigations and procedures
  • Employment injunction proceedings
  • Dismissals
  • Redundancy Programmes
  • Post-termination restrictive covenants
  • Employment issues in receiverships, examinerships and liquidations
  • Employee rights in business sales and outsourcings, including Transfer of Undertakings Issues
  • Industrial Relations
  • Preparing bespoke training sessions for HR personnel on specific

Our experience includes:

  • Advising market leaders in almost all industry sectors including DCC, B&Q, Marsh Ireland Ltd, CPL, 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 re-tendering of its transport/distribution contract for 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). 
  • 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. 

Forced Retirement Deemed a Discriminatory Termination

Imposition of retirement age without a contractual basis held by WRC to constitute an unlawful discrimination termination


A Lesson This School Won't Forget - School Ordered to Pay €34,000 to Former Teacher

The Workplace Relations Commission recently awarded a teacher just short of one year's salary after it found that the teacher was "sent packing with no regard to the requirements of law".


General Data Protection Regulation – Likely Impact for Employers and How to Prepare

The General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"), due to take effect on 25 May 2018, aims to harmonise data protection rules across the European Union ("EU") and marks a milestone in data protection laws in the EU. The GDPR places onerous obligations on organisations in relation to all personal data which they process. It is strongly advisable that employers begin to prepare now for the GDPR and we have highlighted five key points to use as a starting point. Data Protection Officers ("DPOs")


Legislative Proposals for Precarious Work Approved

The Government has approved proposals for priority drafting of legislation which aims to improve the employment protections afforded to workers on zero-hour and low-hour contracts and strengthen the regulation of precarious work.


After ‘Headscarf’ Rulings, Employers Need To Be Mindful Of Dress Code Restrictions

The Court of Justice of the European Union recently issued judgments on whether a workplace ban on the wearing of religious headscarves can be discriminatory. In this article, Catherine O’Flynn, partner at William Fry, explores the CJEU’s judgments and what employers in Ireland can take from them.


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Department

  • 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
  • "This team asks the right questions to get to the heart of the issue. The lawyers are technically excellent and bring pragmatic solutions to our clients." 
  • "Great breadth of experience, and a high level of responsiveness."  Chambers Europe, 2015 
  •  William Fry’s ‘responsive and reliable’ team is headed by the ‘astute and commercial’ Boyce Shubotham and includes the ‘practical and incisive’ Alicia Compton, Maura Roe and ‘trusted adviser’ Catherine O’Flynn. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
  • "The team explained the process at each stage in layman's terms. I was impressed with the lawyers' advice; they gave me their opinion and asked whether I wanted to pursue something. I wasn't being pushed."  Chambers Europe, 2014
  • "The team has a very in-depth knowledge of the law and a clear understanding of our agenda - I have never had occasion to regret our choice.Chambers Europe, 2014
  • William Fry’s ‘service cannot be faulted’. Alicia Compton ‘has proven herself to be one of Ireland’s foremost employment lawyers’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2014 

Team

  • Catherine O'Flynn
    • "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 
    • Catherine is described as a "superior solicitor working for a top-class firm. She always guides and supports clients through the all the issues." Chambers Europe, 2015
    • Catherine O’Flynn is a 'trusted adviser’.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
  • Boyce Shubotham
    • The highly experienced Boyce Shubotham is revered by the market, with one client stating: "He is insightful and gets to the heart of the matter very quickly. We find him very solution-focused and a great sounding board, frequently coming up with ideas that we may not have thought about." Chambers Europe 2019
    • Boyce is 'excellent'. Legal 500 EMEA 2018 
    • Clients confirm that the market-leading Boyce Shubotham has "excellent technical knowledge," and is "responsive and commercially aware." He possesses significant experience in contentious employment proceedings, acting for both employers and senior executives. Chambers Europe 2017 
    • Boyce "has great, savvy experience of how things will pan out. I liked his measured, personable approach." Chambers 2016
    • Boyce Shubotham is ‘astute and commercial’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Sources say Boyce Shubotham is "very strategic and astute, and demonstrates that the law is one thing, but the tactics behind it are the key." Chambers Europe, 2014 
  • Alicia Compton
    • 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 
    • Alicia is described as "highly knowledgeable, and consistently willing to consider a variety of viewpoints to ensure that her advice is fit for the particular circumstances."  Chambers Europe, 2015
    • Alicia Compton is ‘practical and incisive’Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
    • Alicia Compton "knows her law backwards, is very considered in everything she does, and thinks things through from start to finish," say clients.Chambers Europe, 2014
  • Louise Harrison
    • Louise is described as having "a sharp legal mind".  Legal 500 EMEA 2018
  • Michael Wolfe
    • Michael Wolfe  continues to impress the market with his unrivalled 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
    • Michael Wolfe is known for his "fantastic experience and good client manner."Chambers Europe, 2015
    • Michael Wolfe is praised by clients as one of the best pensions lawyers in Ireland: "He understands the whole project; he looks at all the elements and takes them into consideration and is very commercial in the advice he gives."  Chambers Europe, 2014
  • Maura Roe
    • 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 
    • Maura "gives very sound and practical advice," report interviewees.  Chambers Europe, 2014
    • Maura Roe ‘remains calm and focused’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2013 

Key Contacts

Boyce Shubotham Consultant

Alicia Compton Partner

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