28 Jun 2011

Employers' board holds back on decision over Thompson

7:15 pm on 28 June 2011

The future of the Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association's chief executive, Alasdair Thompson, remains undecided following a meeting on Tuesday.

The EMA's board met to discuss recent comments made by Mr Thompson, who suggested last week that some women earn less than men because they take time off due to their periods and to look after their children.

He has since apologised for the comments.

The board says the meeting was part of an ongoing process and while no decision has been made, it doesn't mean Mr Thompson has kept his job.

The board's chair, Graham Mountfort, says the board is taking its time.

"As responsible employers we are trying to make sure we follow the process and don't take any shortcuts, nor to compromise Mr Thompson's position in any way by trying to rush it."

He says Mr Thompson will have to present his case to the board.

Mr Mountfort says the board hopes to have a decision made within about a week.

Care needed before someone can be dismissed

An employment law specialist says the EMA will have to consider whether they can have any trust and confidence in Mr Thompson.

Jane Latimer says the board will be seriously wondering whether it's feasible for him to carry on as their head.

"In terms of a straight dismissal, to do it lawfully, it has to amount to serious misconduct or a gross or serious breach of trust and confidence. It is not an easy level to reach, you've got to be very careful before you dismiss someone for serious misconduct but it must be getting close to that."