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Unfair Dismissal- Commercial Clients
There are circumstances when a company has no choice but to dismiss an employee. An employer is entitled to dismiss an employee, provided it has a fair reason for doing so, and provided that it follows a fair procedure.
How do I Ensure a Dismissal is Fair?
There is a substantial amount of legal guidance as to what constitutes a fair reason and procedure. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) publishes a guide book that outlines the correct procedure to follow when you are faced with the last resort of dismissing an employee. The Acas code is not legally enforceable, however, the Employment Tribunal will take into account whether an employer has followed its guidelines when deciding if a particular dismissal has been unfair.
Automatic Unfair Dismissal
Under certain circumstances dismissals are seen as automatically unfair and a case can be brought against the employer in the Employment Tribunal. Circumstances in which any dismissal is likely to be considered automatically unfair include:
- Dismissing a women because she is pregnant
- Dismissal due to the employee belonging to a trade union
- Dismissing an employee because they refuse to work in situations where there are serious and clear breaches of health and safety rules
- Taking leave for a family emergency situation
- Taking leave to attend jury service
- Dismissal based on the employee being a part-time worker
This list is not exhaustive. We will take the time to advise you if you have automatically unfairly dismissed an employee and then discuss with you the next steps to take in order to minimise any commercial damage.
If a company dismisses an employee unfairly, it could also be subjected to costly litigation in defending itself in an unfair dismissal claim. What is imperative is that you receive accurate legal advice as to whether your company’s reason for dismissing its employee was fair and whether the company followed a fair procedure.
Furthermore, if the business deviates from the law when dismissing an employee, not only could the employee be entitled to a compensatory award but also an uplift to their compensation at the Employment Tribunal’s discretion.
Our specialist employment team provides expert advice to enable our commercial clients to confidently dismiss employees without exposing the business to expensive litigation. In the event that an employee has brought an action for unfair dismissal, we can defend our company clients in unfair dismissal litigation at the Tribunal.