An employee’s employment may be terminated for one of a limited number of potentially fair reasons. These are redundancy, capability, conduct, illegality and some other substantial reason.
What is the procedure for termination of employment?
If an employer decides to terminate an employee’s employment for any of these reasons, it is essential for the employer to follow a proper process prior to doing so.
If an employee has in excess of two years of continuous service then that employee has the right to issue a claim in the employment tribunal within three months of the date of the termination of their employment.
Unfair termination of employment
If a flawed process has been followed by the employer in terminating an employee’s employment then a claim for unfair procedural dismissal will arise. Different processes apply to different types of dismissal.
Termination of employment due to poor performance
By way of example, if the employer is dismissing an employee for the reason of that employee’s underperformance, it is essential for the employer to follow a performance management process.
This would entail the employer writing to the employee and setting out details of how it is perceived that he or she is underperforming and providing the employee with the opportunity to remedy that underperformance.
It is essential in performance dismissals that the employer provides the employee with several warnings, including a verbal warning, written warning and final written warning prior to dismissal.
The employer should also give the individual the opportunity to remedy his or her underperformance with offers of training and assistance to meet the objectives set out.
In the event an employer fails to offer assistance and training to an individual prior to dismissing them for the reason of underperformance, then that individual may have a claim for unfair dismissal which can be brought to the Employment Tribunal.
Termination of employment due to misconduct
If an employer is seeking to dismiss an individual for the reason of that individual’s conduct, then a different process will apply. In this case, an employer should provide details to the individual of the allegations and supply the individual with all evidence that the employer intends to rely upon at the forthcoming disciplinary meeting.
The employee will have an opportunity to state his or her case at the disciplinary meeting and present verbal or written evidence in his or her defence.
In the event that the employer believes that the conduct of the employee amounts to serious or gross misconduct, the employer may be permitted to terminate the employee’s employment without notice or payment in lieu of notice. In any case, if an employee is dismissed either for underperformance or due to his or her misconduct, it is essential that the employer offers the individual the opportunity to appeal against that decision.
If the employee appeals against that decision, the employer is required to set up a meeting to consider the grounds of appeal and will be required to write the employee with their findings in relation to that appeal process.
Termination of employment due to redundancy
If the termination of employment is for the reason of redundancy, then a different process is required. In this case, the employer is required to consult with the individual about their potential redundancy prior to arriving at any decision that they should be terminated for the reason of their redundancy.
Redundancy is a termination of employment in a situation where there is a reduced need for an individual to perform a particular role. It is incumbent upon the employer, prior to a decision to dismiss for the reason of redundancy, to consider any alternatives to that redundancy including whether or not any suitable alternative positions may exist.
If the individual performs a role that is similar to any other roles within the organisation, it is essential for the employer to p those individuals together and applies objective criteria scoring to those individuals to determine which individual should be provisionally selected for redundancy.
With over 10 years of experience in employment law matters, David Philip Harris specialises in providing legal advice on settlement agreements to both employees and employers throughout the UK. David’s opinion and advice are frequently sought after as he contributes often to BBC Radio Berkshire and the People Management Magazine. David Is a long-standing member of The Employment Lawyers Association and The Law Society.