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Termination of Employment

Terminating an employment contract is never an easy thing for an employer to do, regardless of the circumstances. At Caines Law we are here to guide you safely through every stage of the process. There are a number of reasons why you could be ending the employment relationship:

  • Discipline – the employee has committed a number of acts of misconduct or an extremely serious act of gross misconduct.There are only limited circumstances in which you can dismiss an employee. The following are the potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee:
  • Conduct – Where the employee has broken one or more of the terms of employment. For example, continually missing work, theft/dishonesty, drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Capability – Where the employee is not performing work to the required standard or if they  are unable to do their job. For example due to lack of skill, poor attitude, poor health, physical or mental state.
  • Redundancy
  • Statutory restriction – Where you would be breaking the law if you continued to employ someone.
  • Some other substantial reason – Where you have an overwhelming reason why the employee must be dismissed.

There are certain situations where dismissal of an employee will automatically be unfair. The following are just a few examples of automatic unfair reasons for dismissal:

  • Dismissal for asserting or attempting to assert a statutory right;
  • Pregnancy or maternity related dismissal;
  • Dismissal to do with a trade union issue;
  • Dismissal following industrial dispute;
  • Dismissal due to unfair selection for redundancy;
  • Health and safety dismissal;
  • Dismissal before, during or after the transfer of a business

If you have dismissed an employee for an automatically unfair reason you have no defence to any claim that an employee may make against you for Unfair Dismissal.

Even if the dismissal is for one of the potentially fair reasons, if the dismissal is not fair in all the circumstances and a fair procedure was not followed, an Employment Tribunal could still rule that the dismissal was unfair.  It is vital, therefore, that legal advice is sought as early as possible in the termination process, and in any event prior to the termination of employment.  Please visit our section on Unfair Dismissal for more information

It is very common practice, where employment is being terminated, for parties to enter into a legally binding document known as a compromise agreement. Visit our section on Compromise Agreements for more information. We will advise you on the merits of seeking to terminate employment in this way, and are experienced in negotiating employee’s exits from the business.

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