Croner advice: Carrying out a Fair Dismissal

Croner, our partner in HR, Employment Law and Health & Safety provide us with their tips on best practice in business. This article specifically looks at carrying out a fair dismissal.

Croner advice: Carrying out a Fair Dismissal

24 October 2018

Deciding to dismiss an employee is a risky and unpleasant experience. With tribunal fees gone, if an employee’s unfair dismissal claim succeeds, you could pay compensation up to £83,682.

As it’s more important than ever to ensure the correct steps are taken, we have created some guidelines for a fair dismissal process.

Ensure the Reason is Fair

There are five reasons for a fair dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

  1. Conduct/Misconduct– Behaviours that fall into this category can vary from employees being consistently late and having poor time keeping to matters of gross misconduct such as harassment.

  2. Lack of capability or qualifications– This would be invoked in cases of either poor health or poor performance.

  3. Redundancy– Reasons for this include a closure of the business, a change in location, or a particular role or function no longer being required.

  4. A statutory duty or restriction that forbids employment from continuing– This would be applicable in instances when continuing to employ someone would mean you are breaking the law. For example, if you employ a driver and they lose their licence.

  5. Some other substantial reason that explains the dismissal– This is understood to be a fair reason that does not fall under the other categories.

If you are dismissing an employee and are unsure if the reason for dismissal falls into one of these categories, call a Croner expert for advice on 0844 561 8133.

Follow a Fair Dismissal Procedure

Even if the reason for dismissal is fair, if the correct process is not followed an employee can still take you to tribunal for unfair dismissal. Before dismissing someone, you would usually follow the below steps:

  • An informal chat with a note for improvement.

  • A verbal warning.

  • First written warning.

  • Final written warning.

  • Dismissal.

During the disciplinary procedure, make sure you have written notes of all actions and keep copies of all correspondence. In cases of gross misconduct these steps may not be necessary depending on the matter at hand.

Dismiss According to Notice Period

Unless an employee has committed an act of gross misconduct, they are entitled to notice. Failure to adhere to the correct notice period could result in a claim for wrongful dismissal. You must give either the notice stated in the employees contract or the statutory notice period. Minimum statutory notice periods are dependent on the employees’ length of service and contractual notice cannot be less than:

  • A week’s notice for up to 2 years of service.

  • A week for each complete year employed for 2 – 12 years of service.

  • 12 weeks for 12+ years of service.

Talk to an Expert

Currently in the process of dismissing an employee? For further advice on dismissals, please contact the Business Support Helpline which is included with your BDIA membership.

Call 0844 561 8133 today quoting membership number 28763.

View all member updates >

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