Your HR Questions Answered

We aim to give our readers and followers the best advice when it comes to managing people effectively. Every month you can read a digest of some HR questions that might be relevant for you.

Q: My team work really well together but recently I have had two complaints about one member who is not pulling their weight. I don’t feel it is a major issue.

A: As a manager you have a duty of care to all your reports, and if there is a perception about an employee not being productive in the team, then this needs to be dealt with. We suggest that you meet the individuals who have complained, understand the context, and then deal with the issue either as a genuine complaint to be followed up with the individual or explain the context and that the individual is not effective due to other issues (possibly outside of the individual’s scope).

Q: I have had a complaint of harassment made by a junior staff member about one of my managers – I don’t think it is justified and was hoping it might ‘die down’.

A: You have a responsibility to the employee but also to the manager if they are being accused of inappropriate behaviour. You should review your policies and procedures and firstly approach this as an informal issue. In the first instance you need to decide whether there is a genuine issue here – if the employee perceives that there is an issue you must follow up on it.

Hopefully you can resolve it by talking to the employee who made the complaint and resolving it either by getting the two people to talk, or by facilitating a discussion. If not, you may need to move to a formal process.

Q: An employee has complained that they are not getting enough breaks and that their eyesight is affected by sitting at a computer screen all day. We do enforce breaks and expect employees to manage their time so I don’t see this as an issue.

A: As an employer, you are required, under the Safety and Health regulations, to provide sufficient breaks (outlined in the Working Time Acts) and to also ensure that equipment is suitable and not causing any health issues. We suggest that you check that this employee is taking breaks regularly, and also offer them the opportunity to go for an eye test (which can be covered as a benefit when employees are paying PRSI). Here is a checklist to work from:

  • Carry out an analysis or risk assessment of employee workstations
  • Provide information to employees in relation to measures which have been implemented
  • Provide training to employees in the use of workstations before commencing work with display screen equipment and whenever the organisation of the workstation is modified
  • Perform a further analysis or risk assessment where an employee transfers to a new workstation or significant new work equipment, change of equipment or new technology is introduced
  • Ensure that the provision of an appropriate eye and eyesight test is made available to every relevant employee

We have a team of trained and skilled investigators and consultants who have extensive experience in this area and would be happy to discuss any issue of concern with you. Just email us on or call Ingrid on 01 5252914.

Voltedge Management