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Unfair Dismissal: Pitfalls to avoid

I hope none of my followers and readers have started the New Year with an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal being served on them! However unfortunately at the moment I seem to have an influx of instructions for unfair dismissal so I thought I would put together a quick reference guide of things to think about before dismissing your employee.

1. Always ensure that you adhere to the ACAS Code on disciplinary procedures and carry out:

  • A careful and fair investigation of the issues;
  • Inform your employee of the issues of concern in writing setting out a date for a disciplinary hearing and informing them the right to be accompanied;
  • Conduct a disciplinary hearing, ensure minutes are taken and that your employee agrees with the minutes;
  • At the hearings, explain the complaint and go through the evidence;
  • Allow your employee a reasonable opportunity to ask questions, present evidence and call witnesses (if appropriate);
  • Inform your employee in writing of the outcome of the hearing and provide them with the opportunity to appeal within a reasonable time frame;
  • If your employee appeals then ensure that you provide them with a fair appeal hearing, following the principles outlined above, and ensure that the appeal hearing is heard by an independent person.

2. Make sure your actions would be regarded as falling within the range of reasonable responses by a reasonable employer.

3. Fair reasons for dismissal are:
(a) Capability or qualification;
(b) Conduct;
(c) Redundancy;
(d) Legality and
(e) Some other substantial reason (this can amount to a number of things).

4. Constructive unfair dismissals: think about whether a resignation can amount to being a dismissal?

5. Time Limits: your former employee had 3 months less one day from the date of dismissal to present their claim to an employment tribunal otherwise the tribunal lose their jurisdiction to hear their claim. So once it’s been over 3 months since the dismissal you can breathe a sigh of relief and carry on doing what you are best at – running your business.

I hope I have given you some things to think about and remember if anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can!
I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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