5 Reasons for a fair dismissal

Dismissal occurs when an employer decides to terminate the employment relationship. And, since the Supreme Court ruled that tribunal fees were a barrier to justice, claims against employers have increased by 90%. It is important to note that the average pay out for an unfair dismissal in the tribunal is £30,000.

Terminating an employee’s employment will never be an easy decision. However, at one point it may be the right decision for you and your business. So, when you do need to do this, ensure you have one of the following 5 reasons for a fair dismissal.

(1) Conduct
You can dismiss an employee if:

• They are incapable of doing their job to the required standard
• They are capable, but unwilling to do their job
• They’ve committed some form of misconduct
“Conduct” covers a variety of different acts, from not following instructions, to theft. It is therefore recommended that employers have policies in place that detail examples of what will be classed as misconduct, as well as what will be viewed as gross misconduct.

(2) Capability
Capability is defined in the Employment Rights Act 1996 by reference to the skills, aptitude, health or any other mental trait of the employee.
However, before dismissing an employee on the grounds of capability, employers should offer the employee support and extra training to help them reach the standard expected.

(3) Redundancy
Redundancies are another form of dismissal and can happen when an employee’s job no longer exists. This may be due to the employer needing to reduce its workforce, close the business, or certain work is no longer required.
Whatever the situation, it is important employers consider these key points:

• Employees have the right to not be unfairly selected for redundancy
• Employees may be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment and notice
• Redundancies can be compulsory or voluntary

(4) Statutory illegality
This form of dismissal is not used often but would occur if an employer continued to employ someone that resulted in them breaking the law. For example, you employ a lorry driver and they lose their licence and you have no other alternative (legal) role to place them in.

(5) Some other substantial reason (SOSR)
There is no legal definition of dismissals in this category and some would suggest that this is a “dust bin” category.
Some typical examples include:
• Conflicts of interest
• When a client refuses to work with your employee and you have no other work for them to carry out
• Personality clashes
• Where the mutual trust and confidence has been broken

Please note, that even where a dismissal is potentially fair “for some other substantial reason” the employer must ensure that they have followed procedure and have acted reasonably when dismissing the employee.

How can Employment Law Services (ELS) help?
If you are an employer who requires assistance with any of the issues raised in this blog contact us today for your free consultation 0370 218 5662.