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Employment Law


Dismissing an employee should be a last resort and alternative avenues should be explored beforehand. Dismissing an employee may lead to the employee bringing a claim against you for (amongst other claims) unfair and/or wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal.


Steps to take during the dismissal process

  1. Consider whether the employee has the qualifying period of service (two years) to claim unfair dismissal. Bear in mind that in certain cases employees can bring a claim for unfair dismissal if they have less than two years’ continuous service, e.g. if the dismissal is related to pregnancy or childbirth.
  2. Ensure that you act fairly during the dismissal process. Follow your own policies and the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. Even where there is a justified and fair reason for dismissal, it could still be deemed unfair if you do not follow a fair dismissal process.

Ensure that the reason for dismissal is fair. The most common potentially fair reasons for dismissal are:

  1. Conduct, e.g. gross misconduct such as theft, continuous unauthorised absence, violent behaviour and so on.
  2. Capability or qualifications, i.e. the employee is unable to perform their job due to poor health or poor performance.
  3. Redundancy, where your requirement for employees to do work of a particular kind (or to do it in a particular location) has ceased or diminished or is expected to do so.

It is good practice to have your own handbook and policies. These can set out what you deem a fair reason for dismissal. Your standards and requirements are then set out in black and white with less scope for argument.

Ensure that you act in accordance with the employee’s contract of employment and your company policies.


We can help

If you dismiss an employee it is important that you do so fairly. We can be on hand to provide you with ad hoc advice or even advise you from start to finish to ensure that the reason for dismissal and the dismissal process is fair.


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Our team has a wealth of knowledge in employment law and regularly speak at seminars and conferences as well as conducting training on topical issues.

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