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Fergal Dowling



Fergal is national head of the Employment & Pensions Group.

He has considerable experience across all aspects of employment law and human resources, but has a particular focus on contentious matters.  Fergal also advises on non-contentious matters, including advising on TUPE, re-organisations, contracts of employment, directors’ service agreement agreements. His forte is his delivery of strategic advice at board level.

Fergal also heads the 'Centre of Excellence' for volume employment tribunal work, based in Birmingham. His team handles over 1,000 Tribunal instructions annually, delivering volume based contentious employment advice to agreed Service Level Agreements, using case management processes to drive efficiency, whilst maintaining high standards of quality service.

Recent highlights:

  • Leading product development for the national employment group and being responsible for driving relationships with affinity partners to include insurers, brokers and other professional service organisations.
  • The lead relationship Partner for a number of the firm’s key employment clients.
  • Helping to manage the firm’s innovative employment law retainer service, IMhrplus.
  • Speaking regularly at seminars as a key note speaker and covers a variety of employment law and HR topics.

Market view:

"Fergal Dowling of Irwin Mitchell demonstrates experience across the full range of employment law matters." - Chambers & Partners 2016

"A good operator." - Chambers & Partners, 2014

"Particularly recommended for contentious matters." - Legal 500, 2013

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 27/07/2017
    AoC Appoints Irwin Mitchell To Deliver Employment Helpline To Members

    "Irwin Mitchell has considerable education sector knowledge and expertise and we are delighted to have this opportunity to extend our partnership with the AoC, whilst also being able to build closer relationships with member colleges."

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  • 28/04/2016
    New Holiday Pay Ruling To Add Pressure On UK Businesses

    “This latest ruling is significant and potentially very costly for businesses and gives a very real steer on the fact that Tribunals are becoming less concerned with the ‘label’ attached to the overtime arrangement. Instead, if overtime is worked regularly, then it is likely to be counted. “We still don’t know how often overtime has to be worked to be considered ‘regular’ and more guidance is needed to help businesses decide whether or not to include these payments. “This case suggests that the Tribunals in England and Wales are changing tack. Many cases were stayed pending the outcome of Lock v British Gas in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. However, there does not appear to be an appetite to continue to adopt the same approach despite the continuing uncertainly posed by the on-going appeal in that case."

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  • 12/04/2016
    B&Q Removes Advert Asking Workers to Attend Unpaid Induction

    “Whilst it is positive to see that B&Q has quickly removed the advert, it was certainly ill-advised and has caused the company reputational damage. “Generally, the law requires that, all workers are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage rate for any work they complete. This will usually include time spent being inducted into their new role. “Individuals who join organisations as volunteers or to gain work experience are the only category of workers who are not entitled to be paid for the work they undertake, although many do receive expenses, such as travel expenses. “With the company already under pressure due to changes to current workers’ contracts, this advert will have done little to improve people’s perception of the company and may have affected the morale of current workers. “It also reiterates the importance of employees carefully reading their contract or offer letter before signing it, so they know exactly what they’re entitled to and there are no surprises when their job begins.”

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  • 06/04/2016
    Few Fathers Opt In For Shared Parental Leave

    “We are not surprised by the low take up of men taking shared parental leave. The system is extremely complicated and is not open to all partners as both partners have to be working and one of them has to be employed (self-employment does not count). The rate of pay is also a big factor and many individuals simply can’t afford to take the financial hit of only receiving £139.58 a week. “It is also disappointing that men believe that their career will be damaged if they take time off to care for their child. Overcoming these sorts of prejudices is key if shared parental leave is going to take off. “The government has recently announced that it is going to extend shared parental leave to grandparents and this might be more popular as many grandparents already play a vital role in caring for their grandchildren.”

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