The Do’s and Don’ts of Dismissing an Employee
The Do’s and Don’ts of Dismissing an Employee

The Do’s and Don’ts of Dismissing an Employee

As an employer, dismissing an employee is one of the most difficult things that you have to do. No matter what the circumstances are, it’s essential to ensure that whoever you’re dismissing is treated with dignity. This is where PlusHR come in.

There are a number of human resources regulations and systems which exist in order to assist both employers and employees in the event of a dismissal. These systems exist in order to support all of the parties involved and help them navigate a difficult process.

dealing with dismissals in the workplace

The process of a dismissal is going to change depending on what kind of dismissal you’re dealing with. In this article, I’m going to outline the four different kinds of dismissals which exist in the eyes of UK law, and the different action that they require.

What Kind Of Dismissal Are you Dealing With?

According to UK law, there are four different kinds of dismissals: fair, unfair, constructive and wrongful. However, no matter what kind of dismissal you’re dealing with, you must handle it fairly and within the legal limits of the law. If you and your employee find yourself in a disagreement, the case may end up in an employment tribunal.


Fair Dismissal

A fair dismissal is when an employer has a valid reason for dismissing an employee. There is a whole scope of reasons that count for valid dismissals, but generally, they fall into three categories: issues to do with capability or conduct, redundancy, or something that prevents an employee being able to legally do their job — such as driver losing their driving license.

When you dismiss someone, you have to act calmly and rationally at all points during the process. It’s essential to engage the employee in question and constructively guide them through step by step.

You also have to ensure that you give appropriate notice. The regulations regarding the amount of notice that employees are entitled to once dismissed should be outlined in their contract. This absolutely has to be abided to for a dismissal to be considered “just”.

The reasons for dismissal have to be clearly explained to the employee in question, and depending on which of the three scenarios in question apply, there are additional protocol procedures that need to be followed.

Unfair Dismissal

Even if you believe that you’ve dismissed someone on fair grounds, they can claim unfair dismissal against you if they believe that the reason you dismissed them was fabricated, unjust, or if you treated them unfairly. For example, dismissal may be considered unfair if the employee is not paid the wages that they are owed, or not given notice as outlined in their contract.

Constructive Dismissal

A constructive dismissal is when an employee resigns because their employer has breached their employment contract. An employee can claim unfair dismissal over one large incident, or a series of small incidents. For example, an employee would be eligible to claim constructive dismissal if they had their wages cut without agreement, were demoted without justification, or were discriminated against in the workplace.

A constructive dismissal isn’t automatically unfair, but it can be very hard to show that a break of contract was fair.

Wrongful Dismissal

A wrongful dismissal is when an employer breaks the terms of the employee’s contract in the dismissal process. Wrongful dismissals can be extremely stressful for both the employer and the employee and can end in employment tribunals. This is why in the event of a dismissal, it’s so important to follow the HR processes which outline the rights of all of the parties involved.

HR dismissal processes exist to preserve the rights and dignity of both the employer and the employee. Following them creates a robust, protective, and legally binding structure which can help the workplace to navigate even the most difficult of dismissals.

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