Termination of Employment in Cyprus

The Employment Law (100(1)/2000) in Cyprus includes both statute and case law. Specifically, Cyprus statute law contains issues related to the termination of employment, paid leave, annual social insurance, maternity leave, equal treatment at work e.t.c. The Labour Disputes Courts deals with issues related to the rights of employees and employers.

The Employment Law applies to every employee who has a contract or employment relationship in the private, public and semi-governmental sector.

The Employment Law does NOT apply to:

· employees whose total period of employment is less than one month;

· employees whose total hours of employment is less than eight hours in a given week;

· employees whose employment is of a casual nature and/or particular nature under the condition that in these cases the non-application of the Law is justified by objective reasons;

In this article, our employment lawyers will present the primary aspects of termination of employment in Cyprus, i.e. notice period, unlawful termination of employment and redundancy.

Under the Termination of Employment Law (24/1967), an employer intending to dismiss an employee, who has completed at least 26 weeks of continuous employment, is obliged to give the employee a minimum period of notice based on the length of his/her service, as illustrated below:

26 -51 weeks work (6 months- 1 year)

One week notice

52 – 103 weeks work (1-2 years)

Two weeks notice

104 – 155 weeks work (2-3 years)

Four weeks notice

156- 207 weeks work (3-4 years)

Five weeks notice

208 – 259 weeks work (4-5 years)

Six weeks notice

260 – 311 weeks work (5-6 years)

Seven weeks notice

More than 312 weeks work (more than 6 years)

Eight weeks notice

Unlawful termination of employment:

Following the Termination of Employment Law, an employee whose employment has been terminated unlawfully after completing 26 weeks of continuous employment with an employer is entitled to receive compensation. In addition, an employee who quit his/her job due to his/her employer’s conduct is also eligible to receive compensation. Second of all, it should be clarified that the amount of compensation is determined by the Labour Disputes Court following an application by the employee.

When assessing the amount of compensation, the Court takes into account the following criteria:

· The remuneration of the employee;

· The duration of employee’s service;

· The restriction of employee’s career prospects;

· The age of the employee;

· The circumstances of employee’s dismissal;

An employee cannot claim compensation if he/she terminated his/her employment for one of the following reasons:

· In case the termination of employment held as an outcome of redundancy, Act of God, war, riots, extreme weather conditions, etc.;

· In case of dismissal due to redundancy;

· In case the employment is terminated at the end of fixed-term contract;

· In case the dismissal is due to employee’s fault;

How to receive compensation for unlawful dismissal:

Submitting an application for unlawful dismissal compensation requires a professional legal support. An employment lawyer will assist you with all the necessary legal and administrative procedures so that to help you to get the compensation you deserve. Therefore, if you wish to receive a customised legal support contact one of our lawyers.

Redundancy:

The amount of redundancy payment is calculated as illustrated below:

Period of continuous employment

Amount of redundancy payment

Up to 4 years

2 Weeks wages for each year of continuous employment

More than 4 and up to 10 years

2.5 Weeks wages for each period of continuous employment

More than 10 and up to 15 years

3 Weeks wages for each year of continuous employment

More than 15 and up to 20 years

3.5 Weeks wages for each year of continuous employment

More than 20 and up to 25 years

4 Weeks wages for each year of continuous employment

How to claim redundancy payment:

In order to get payment from the Redundancy Fund, the employee must make a claim on the prescribed form, that can be found on Social Insurance Offices, Citizen’s Service Centre and the official website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurances.

The claim must be submitted to the closest Social Insurance Office, within three months at latest from the date of termination of employment. Nevertheless, in cases where the employee proves that he/she had a good reason for the delay, payment may be approved given that the claim is made within 12 months from the date of termination of his/her employment.

 

Is At-Will Employment A Myth?

California law provides for at-will employment unless there is an agreement to the contrary. As a result, an employer may believe it is free to terminate an employee at any time and for any reason or no reason.

The reality is far more complicated. A variety of limitations and exceptions to at-will employment have built up over time. An employer who decides to fire a worker should not have a false sense of security that the at-will doctrine will protect it against a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Implied Agreement

At-will employment can be negated by an implied agreement to not discharge an employee without good cause. Written or verbal representations by the employer of continued employment, other statements by the employer that create an expectation of job security, or the establishment of a progressive disciplinary policy can create such an implied agreement.

Discrimination

An employer may not dismiss an employee because of his or her race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. Because the protected characteristics are so numerous, one or more of them are likely to apply to most employees. Thus, an employee frequently will be in a position to at least claim that a termination is based on illegal discrimination.

Public Policy

An employer may not dismiss an employee in violation of a fundamental and substantial public policy. Such cases generally involve terminations based on an employee:

  • Refusing to break the law at the request of the employer;
  • Performing a legal obligation;
  • Exercising a constitutional or statutory right or privilege (e.g., seeking a reasonable accommodation for a disability; taking lawful medical, pregnancy, or family leave; filing a workers’ compensation claim); or
  • Complaining about or reporting a legal violation (e.g., employment discrimination, sexual or racial harassment, wage or overtime violations, workplace safety violations).

Burden of Proof

The at-will doctrine is further undermined by how the burden of proof is allocated in wrongful termination lawsuits. The employee has the initial burden of establishing that (1) he or she is in a class protected by the “discrimination” or “public policy” principles discussed above, and (2) there is some causal connection between his or her protected status and the employment termination (e.g., the termination occurred shortly after the employee filed a workers’ compensation claim or complained about employment law violations). If the employee satisfies that burden, then the burden shifts to the employer to put forward a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for the termination.

In light of these limitations, “at-will employment” often may be more a myth than a reality. An employer therefore must follow carefully designed employment practices to lessen the risk that it will be successfully sued by a terminated employee.

 

How to Preserve At-Will Employment

California has at-will employment, meaning that either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause, reasons, or notice.

But the at-will presumption can be negated by express or implied agreements to the contrary. In addition, an employer may not dismiss an employee for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. As a result of these exceptions, employers often find themselves subject to claims by terminated employees.

An employer can adopt various strategies to maintain at-will treatment and protect itself against wrongful termination lawsuits. Following are some key do’s and don’ts:

DO Include Repeated At-Will Statements

Job applications, offer letters, employee manuals, performance evaluations, and other employment-related materials all should clearly and prominently state the at-will policy. The policy should be restated next to any provisions that might be interpreted as conflicting with an at-will arrangement. For example, any list of reasons in an employee manual as to why an employee may be discharged should be accompanied by a disclaimer that the list is not exclusive and that the employment always remains at-will. It is hard to repeat the at-will policy too many times.

DON’T Give Assurances of Job Security

An employer should train its managers to not unwittingly make verbal statements to employees that might be interpreted as contradicting at-will employment, such as:

“If you continue to do fine work like this, you can look forward to a long and successful association with the Company,” or

“As long as you do a good job, you will always have a home here.”

DON’T Have Probationary Periods or Permanent Employees

Use of a “probationary” period for new employees arguably creates an inference that an employee can only be terminated for good cause once he or she has satisfactorily completed the period. An initial phase of employment instead should be referred to as an “introductory,” “orientation,” or “training” period. In addition, employees who complete the introductory period should be referred to as “regular” rather than “permanent” employees.”

DON’T Have a Progressive Discipline Program

A progressive discipline policy arguably creates an implied contract between the employer and the employee, requiring the employer to follow all the steps in the policy before discharging an employee. The practical result is that the employee can no longer be summarily terminated, as would otherwise be permissible with at-will employment.

DO Be Mindful of Anti-Discrimination Laws

An employer should take special care before discharging someone who is a member of a protected class (e.g., based on race, age, ethnicity, or disability), or whose termination might be viewed as in retaliation for a protected act (e.g., whistle-blowing). In such cases, an employer must be prepared to establish good cause for the termination, notwithstanding the general presumption of at-will status.

Conclusion

There are many traps for the unwary in attempting to maintain an at-will employment policy. Accordingly, an employer should have a competent professional periodically review its employment documents and practices. And because of the risk of wrongful termination claims, an employer should consult with legal counsel before discharging employees.

 

Common US Employment Law Violations

There are many people in the United States that have excellent, fair employers – yet there are also those whose workers’ rights are violated each and every year in regards to underpayment, overtime and rest break violations. For this reason, it is important to know your rights and find a great employment law attorney.

There are several employment law violations that are more common that others in the US, and the first one of these is lack of overtime payment. The particular law that applies will depend on the state, but in some cases, employees can be told that they are not entitled to overtime payment when they actually are.

In all cases, workers are entitled to overtime payment if they do not meet all the of a particular overtime exemption’s requirements. Furthermore, some people may be compensated for overtime, but this sum may be far lower than the amount that they are legally entitled to. In this case, finding a good unpaid overtime lawyer is an ideal solution.

In addition to the lack of overtime payment or the miscalculation of overtime payment that disadvantages the employee, there are other common employment law violations which employees need to be vigilant of. One of these is failure of the employer to give additional pay when it is required by law.

This does not only apply in regards to overtime, but also in other situations when an employee is legally entitled to be compensated for not taking an unpaid meal period – working instead due to the employer’s demands – or not taking other legally required rest breaks. In some state law, workers are entitled to extra pay in these situations.

If you are an employee who frequently is required to skip rest breaks or unpaid meal breaks, then it is strongly recommended to seek the assistance of a unpaid overtime lawyer who will be able to provide you with guidance. This is one way of assuring that you know your rights and will be able to assert them for you and your family’s benefit.

Another common violation of employment law is that statutory employees are classified instead as “independent contractors”, which denies them a number of rights that they should be entitled to. These rights include minimum wage, overtime and a variety of other protections provided by state and federal law.

This miscalculation can be a genuine error on the part of the employer, but it can also be a calculated business move that severely disadvantages the worker. Again, seeking the advice of an employment attorney or a unpaid overtime lawyer will help clear up this issue and help each determine whether they have been misclassified as an independent contractor.

Lastly, employees may be entitled to certain rest breaks and meal times which the employer does not provide. There may also be failure to provide vacation pay, all of which result in the employee receiving far less than they deserve at the unjust benefit of the employer. Again, if the employee suspects their rights are being violated, it is advised to seek legal help.

These are just a few of the most common violations of workers’ rights in the US – from lack of overtime pay to miscalculation of employee status, these will also have a huge effect on the lives of employees and their families. This can mean less income, fewer breaks and longer hours than is legally allowed.

It is important for every worker in the country to know their rights and to seek professional help in defending them when necessary. This ensures a fairer workplace and one where employees can work safely and securely and be adequately financially compensated for their contribution to the company that they work for.

 

Social Media In Pre-Employment Screening: When Did Personal Judgemental Prejudices Replace Validity?

It is clearly evident that social media is woven into our everyday lives and technology enables immediacy in terms of sharing personal information on line. Our everyday social activities are in the public arena, warts and all, and consequently open to scrutiny. However, how pervasive is this scrutiny in organisational recruitment? Legislation is in place to guard against discriminatory practices, however, it is perhaps inevitable that recruiters would be tempted to examine the digital lives being led by potential recruits to their organisations. It is an easy opportunity to attempt to get an insight into the character of the individual who has applied for a post; an attempt at enhancing cultural fit decision-making. However, this approach can be highly problematic. From a Business Psychology perspective it can be argued that recruitment is about ‘accounting for performance,’ that is when we measure potential performance, either via interview, psychometrics or live observational centres we are accounting for how any given individual will perform in a role. We may account for 17% at interview through to 65% with assessment centres. Whatever strategy is used there is always the possibility that the baby will be thrown out with the bath water. If we have hiring errors of judgement that is based on valid decision-making strategies, what do organisations hope to achieve by trawling through an individuals personal on-line space as a last bastion of feed into appointment? This divisive, prejudicial practice is not only ill thought out at best, it is irrelevant in terms of performance predictive validity. It makes hiring organisations the custodians of everyday life comment and behaviour, with the almost Orwellian self appointed authority to make value judgements on what is right and what is wrong.

First, lets examine the psychology of posting on-line. Research suggests that personality is an important factor to consider when investigating the causes and consequences of people’s engagement with social media. Further, the images we present in the virtual world may not necessarily reflect who we are in real life. Do you take selfies? Dr Terri Apter, psychology lecturer at Cambridge University, says taking selfies is all about people trying to figure out who they are and project this to other people. “It’s a kind of self-definition,” says Dr Apter. “We all like the idea of being sort of in control of our image and getting attention, being noticed, being part of the culture.”

People want to control the image projected and this image will vary with context, just as in real life. We all have distinct friend, family and work personas. If we examine older adults, their profiles will often feature their wives and children. The profiles of university students feature what they believe is the most interesting part of their lives, and this will vary enormously. Pictures of drinking and partying are interesting to certain peer groups. They can provide cues on what to wear, where to go, and how to act, young adults look to their peers to see what are the best parties and activities, which are illustrated on Facebook/MySpace. I personally don’t have a single picture posted of myself in the library. Other postings may also serve to communicate the importance of particular relationships because these bonds may provide security regarding an individuals self worth.

Social media lends all users a “public” persona, and when users try to present themselves in a way that matches how they want to be seen, this creates potential problems. Part of the problem is that the norms of one community aren’t the norms of another. So when we produce an ‘out of work persona’ that aligns to the cultural nuances of any given external group, and this represents a difference in terms of how we behave in the workplace, this can lead to clashes on social media, that is then interpreted by others.

It is likely that the most common Facebook regrets revolve around sensitive topics like alcohol, sex, politics, religion or “emotional content.” Often, the sources of these regrets are unintended consequences or unintended audiences. And, such postings are the ones most likely to be utilised when assessing an individual’s suitability for a job post. Uninhibited behaviour on-line is a gift for certain personalities in organisations. Nevertheless, it is one thing wanting to know a little more about the views, motivations and lifestyles of job seekers; it is another thing to take a prejudicial leap of faith regarding that individual’s cultural fit and performance potential. This is further compounded when delegated to a third party to undertake such activity, where there is high potential for identity mistakes to be made. And, even wider judgemental bias can occur through delegated authority.

As a Principal Business Psychologist I often evaluate the validity of recruitment measures in order to determine the extent to which selection tools can predict job performance. Measures have different types of validity that capture different qualities. There are three major types of validity: content validity, construct validity, and criterion validity.

Content validity refers to how comprehensively the measure assesses the underlying construct that it claims to assess. Construct validity refers to whether the measure accurately assesses the underlying construct that it claims to assess. Criterion validity examines how well the construct correlates with one’s behaviour in the real world across multiple situations and manifestations. For instance, does the measure adequately capture the construct (e.g., innovation) as it presents in real life (e.g., time management, planning and organising, leadership, etc.)?

The reliability of a measure refers to whether the measure gets repeatable results. Will the recruitment and selection processes that a company uses work every time they need to hire someone, or just once? If their processes get good results every time, those measures can be said to be reliable.

On the basis of the above, I have to ask about the validity and reliability of social media screening. What construct does it purport to investigate, how well does it measure that construct, how well do any conclusions drawn correlate with required behaviour, and finally how consistent are the results?

The fact remains that screening must be done with caution, so that recruiting managers do not inadvertently act in manner that could be considered discriminatory, or unfair in other ways.

In common with other paperwork associated with the recruitment process, any personal data gathered during the recruitment/screening process should be handled and retained in accordance with any policy guidance on record keeping.

Organisations need to guarantee that:

  • the same restrictions apply to online checks as they do to all other aspects of the recruitment process;
  • personal data should only be accessed if it is relevant to suitability for the role;
  • only the absolutely necessary personal information that is relevant to the job should be collected;
  • social media searches should not be used as a personal fishing exercise;
  • reasonable steps should be taken to ensure the accuracy of any personal details accessed online;
  • a distinction should be drawn between the use of social media for mainly private purposes and for mainly professional purposes, i.e. viewing LinkedIn is acceptable, viewing Facebook is not;
  • information that is in the public domain regarding someone’s professional profile can be used;
  • before online searches are conducted, applicants should be advised that information about them might be gathered in this way;
  • applicants should be given an opportunity to respond to any adverse findings from online searches, where they may be considered in the decision-making process.

Only then can job applicants be reassured that it is their skill, motivational and personality drivers that are being evaluated, not their life choices. The latter has no place in legitimate, fair and open hiring decisions.

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