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Dismissing an employee is one of the hardest tasks an SME owner must face. Not only is the situation often emotionally charged on both sides, but the process of firing an employee must also be done correctly to ensure a claim of unfair dismissal and/or discrimination is not brought against you. Fortunately, by investing in the advice of an experienced Employment Law Solicitor you can protect yourself from stressful and expensive Employment Tribunal claims.

How do I dismiss an employee lawfully?

To legally dismiss an employee you must ensure:

There are five fair reasons for dismissing an employee, namely:

  • capability or qualifications
  • conduct
  • redundancy
  • breach of statutory duty or restriction 
  • some other substantial reason (SOSR). Common examples of SOSR include personality clashes, a breakdown in trust and confidence, and business reorganisation.

Dismissing an employee for any other reason will be deemed unfair by the Employment Tribunal.

Employment law states that you must act reasonably when dismissing an employee and follow a fair process. To protect yourself ensure you:

  1. Establish a fair reason for the dismissal
  2. Conduct a thorough and fair investigation into the incident/s that led to the decision to dismiss the employee
  3. Follow the dismissal procedure set out in your employment contract and, in the case of misconduct or poor performance, the Acas Code of Practice.
  4. Keep the employee informed throughout the process and allow them to bring a representative to any meetings
  5. Allow the opportunity for the employee to improve their performance or explain their conduct
  6. Always provide an opportunity to appeal the dismissal decision
  7. Keep meticulous records of all steps, meetings, and communications
  8. Comply with the notice period set out in the employment contract


Final words

The dismissal process can be challenging. It is important, however, for the sake of your brand’s reputation and your other employees, that you follow a fair process when dismissing someone and always act in a professional manner. 


Get legal assistance from LawBite

Taking legal advice from an Employment Law Solicitor will ensure you get through this difficult time with your reputation and peace of mind intact during this formal procedure.


Additional useful information

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.