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Care workers secure win after Labour Court recommends they can wear football jerseys to work

The issue went to the Labour Court after a resolution couldn’t be reached at the WRC.

Image: Eamonn Farrell via

SIPTU AND INSPIRE WELLBEING clashed at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) over the football top issue where a resolution couldn’t be reached resulting in the case going before the Labour Court.

Now, in a ruling with two other Labour court members, Deputy Chairwoman of the Labour Court, Louise O’Donnell has recommended that the Inspire Wellbeing staff in Dunfirth Farm be allowed wear their football jerseys in the same manner as previously applied.

She added: “However, staff from Dunfirth Farm should not be permitted to wear football jerseys to any training days, conferences or seminars where Inspire Wellbeing workers from other locations are attending.”

At the Labour Court, Siptu claimed that, traditionally, staff of the Irish Society for Autism had a right to wear football jerseys to work and are seeking to retain that right as employees of Inspire Wellbeing.

Siptu claimed that the dress code is a change to their members’ current work practices, custom and practice and terms and conditions of employment.

Siptu stated that it has always been accepted in Dunfirth Farm that football jerseys are part of ordinary everyday dress.

The union pointed out that one of the aims of the service is to ensure that service users and staff when out and about look like “buddies” .

Siptu also argued that the wearing of jerseys has never caused any issues in this workplace.

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Inspire Wellbeing – which has its HQ in Belfast – pointed out to the Labour court that their Dress Code policy clearly prohibits wearing of “clothes with emblems, logos or advertisements; e.g. football tops”.

The organisation stated that is a company-wide policy and cannot be amended specifically for the staff based at Dunfirth Farm.

Inspire Wellbeing pointed out that as an all-Ireland organisation, Inspire Wellbeing want to have a consistency of approach across the organisation and that a casual form of dress was and still is encouraged at Dunfirth Farm.

Siptu countered that it is unfair that the only reason the staff are not being allowed to wear their jerseys is because of the employer’s desire to have a consistency of approach to this issue.

About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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