Many employers rightly have concerns about the process of dismissing an employee. Whilst there are many laws to be aware of, there are some important basic rules to observe. It is also important that employers consider the reasons that can be used to dismiss an employee and that a proper procedure for doing so is followed.
There are different types of dismissal:
- Fair dismissal. An employer must have a valid reason for dismissing an employee. This could relate to an employee’s capability or conduct or to a redundancy. However, even if you have a fair reason, the dismissal is only fair if you also act reasonably during the dismissal and disciplinary process.
- Unfair dismissal. Even if you think you’ve dismissed someone fairly, they could still claim unfair dismissal against you for a number of reasons. There are also some reasons for dismissal that are classed as automatically unfair such as pregnancy and all reasons relating to maternity.
- Constructive dismissal. This is when an employee resigns because you’ve breached their employment contract. A constructive dismissal isn’t necessarily unfair but could lead to a claim for wrongful dismissal.
- Wrongful dismissal. This is where an employer breaks the terms of an employee’s contract in the dismissal process, e.g. dismissing someone without giving them proper notice.
If an employee thinks they have been dismissed unfairly, constructively or wrongfully, they might have the right to take their employer to an employment tribunal. There are many circumstances where an ex-employee can claim to have been unfairly or wrongfully dismissed, and it is important that proper advice is taken before starting the dismissal process.