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Firing an employee is far from ideal. It can be expensive, time-consuming, stressful and demotivating, so it’s only natural most employers want to avoid them. But, we understand that sometimes it’s just got to be done, so if you find yourself facing a dismissal situation we’ll be by your side every step of the way.
Dismissals aren’t a ‘go to’ solution for ironing out employee issues. It’s better for everyone involved – and the morale of those in the background – if you can solve problems before they reach this stage.
So, we’ll help you to try and avoid dismissals by prioritising positive steps – like performance management, reviews, training and employee support programmes.
If you’re all out of options and dismissal is your only way out, we’ll be on hand to support you – day and night – through every stage of the process. From managing disciplinaries and grievances to conducting investigations and having difficult conversations, our HR & Employment Law experts will have your back the whole way.
And, if the worst happens and you find yourself in a tribunal, we’ll support you there too. Providing you’ve followed all of our advice, we’ll even cover your legal costs!
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Every single employee who has two or more years’ service (one years’ service in NI) has the right to not be unfairly dismissed. A dismissal could be deemed as unfair if
a) the reason for dismissal isn’t deemed reasonable, and
b) you don’t follow a fair process leading up to the dismissal.
Examples of unfair dismissal include:
In addition, all employees – regardless of length of service – have the right not to be dismissed for certain reasons, and this is called ‘automatically unfair dismissal’. Examples include dismissals on the back of:
Dismissing an employee based on any of the above grounds could land you on the wrong side of the law, open you up to unfair dismissal claims and potentially place you in the middle of a costly tribunal case.
Constructive dismissal is when an employee claims they’ve been forced to walk out of their employment.
For a claim for constructive dismissal to stand up, your conduct must be so serious it caused an irretrievable breakdown in trust and confidence that entitles the employee to consider themselves as dismissed. A few examples include:
Employees can also claim constructive dismissal if a series of events have occurred that have led to the relationship breaking down – even if what caused them to walk out seems minor.
In theory, dismissing employees who’re in their probation period should be easier. Why? Because employees with less than two years’ service can’t claim for ‘ordinary’ unfair dismissal.
They can, however, still claim for ‘automatically’ unfair dismissals – like whistleblowing, for example – and discrimination. So, it’s important to make sure you have evidence of the employee’s wrongdoing, and treat them fairly and consistently regardless of how long they’ve been with you.
To ensure you’re acting on the right side of the law, we’d always recommend seeking legal advice before dismissing an employee – whether they’re in their probation period or not. If you’ve got a question, get in touch with our team of experts on 0345 844 1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the Equality Act, dismissing an employee on the grounds of a protected characteristic – like race, religious or political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, age or pregnancy, instantly leaves you open to claims of an automatically unfair dismissal due to discrimination – regardless of how long the employee’s been with you.
As a result, an employee dismissed unfairly could be awarded £10,000s in compensation, even if they’ve only been with you a week.
This doesn’t mean to say you can’t dismiss an employee who has a protected characteristic, of course, it just means it can’t be the reason for the dismissal. In addition, if an employee has a disability, a dismissal can be unfair if you:
As tribunals can infer that discrimination’s occurred if a dismissal seems hasty, it’s important to have all your ducks in a row and make sure any concerns around performance or conduct have been acted on early, and you treat employees fairly and consistently.
Before you can consider dismissing an employee, you must follow a fair disciplinary procedure. Unsure what that looks like? Here are the eight fundamental considerations to follow:
For an in-depth look at how to dismiss someone – legally, check out our free guide on it here.
If you need a hand navigating your way through dismissals and disciplinary procedures, we’re here for you. From managing performance and having difficult conversations to gathering evidence and dealing with appeals, we’ll hold your hand every step of the way.
For more information on how we can start supporting your business, get in touch with our HR & Employment Law experts on 0345 844 1111 or email@example.com.
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