What is Unfair Dismissal?
Every employee who has been employed for at least 2 years “the qualifying period of service” has the right not to be unfairly dismissed.
If there is to be a dismissal, you as the employer must show that the reason (or if more than one, then the principal reason), falls into one of the categories set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996.
These categories are:
- Capability or Qualification - The employee lacked the capability (e.g. skill, aptitude, health) or qualifications to perform the work they were employed to do.
- Conduct - The dismissal was a result of the employee’s conduct (e.g. dishonesty, poor attendance, failure to follow reasonable instructions).
- Redundancy – For more information about what constitutes a genuine redundancy follow this link.
- Statute - continuing the employment would contravene a statute, (e.g. the employee needs a visa to work in the UK but it has expired).
- Some other substantial reason (SOSR) - i.e. any substantial reason of a kind to justify dismissal that does not fall within the above reasons. This does not mean it is easy for an employer to rely on SOSR, but some examples are:
- The non-renewal of a fixed-term contract where the employee was recruited as maternity leave cover and the woman has returned to work.
- the dismissal and re-engagement of an employee to impose new contractual terms and conditions that the employee has refused to voluntarily agree to.
- a dismissal because of a personality clash between employees that makes it impossible for them to work together
Unless you as the employer can prove one (or more) of the above fair reasons for dismissal, then you run the risk of your former employee bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal, which is likely to be deemed to have been unfair.
Before you take the plunge and dismiss please take some advice from a qualified advisor. To discuss your situation with one of our team please call us on 0118 958 5321 or complete the enquiry form on this page. We look forward to hearing from you.
Unfair Dismissal General Guidance
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