No matter how hard you work at recruiting the best staff and keeping them engaged with their work and your business, at some point you may have to sack a member of your staff. Here’s a simple overview of the different (legal!) ways in which you can do this.
Dismissal is when you end an employee’s contract. When dismissing staff, you must do it fairly. There are different types of dismissal:
- Fair dismissal
- Unfair dismissal
- Constructive dismissal
- Wrongful dismissal
Fair and Unfair Dismissal
A dismissal is fair or unfair depending on:
- Your reason for it, which must be valid. Reasons can include capability, conduct, redundancy or something that prevents staff from legally being able to do their job, such as a driver losing their driving licence
- How you act during the dismissal process. Even if you have a fair reason, the dismissal is only fair if you also act reasonably during the dismissal and disciplinary process.
This is when an employee resigns because you’ve breached their employment contract. This could be a single serious event or a series of less serious events.
An employee could claim constructive dismissal if you:
- Cut their wages without agreement
- Unlawfully demote them
- Allow them to be harassed, bullied or discriminated against
- Unfairly increase their workload
- Change the location of their workplace at short notice
- Make them work in dangerous conditions
A constructive dismissal isn’t necessarily unfair – but it would be difficult for you to show that a breach of contract was fair.
This is where you break the terms of an employee’s contract in the dismissal process, e.g. dismissing someone without giving them proper notice. Wrongful dismissal isn?t the same as unfair dismissal.
If an employee thinks you’ve dismissed them unfairly, constructively or wrongfully, they might take you to an employment tribunal.
How to Sack Someone
When it comes to actually dismissing a member of staff, your procedure should follow the advice set out in the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) code of practice.
This is just an overview of the legal ways in which you can ask a member of staff to leave your business. There is more information online and if you’re having any staff issues, please do get in touch with me, to talk through your issues, before you make any decisions. You can always call me on 0118 940 3032 with your questions.