The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
Dismissing Staff

Dismissing an Employee

Ending your employee's contract means you have dismissed them from your employment. But, even though there are various reasons for dismissing an employee, you must do it fairly.

DISMISSING STAFF: Employers should work within dismissal rules when firing their staff members. UK employment legislation recognises these 4 types of staff discharge:

These are the most common reasons why your employer might dismiss you from the workforce. Sacking an employee usually includes a notice period.

In most cases an employer will give the notice outlined in an employment contract. It could be the statutory minimum notice period instead if this is longer. But, ending a contract of employment means employees have certain rights to ensure it is fair.

Constructive Dismissal

In some cases an employee might resign under constructive dismissal. It happens most if an employer breaches the employment contract. The breach can be a single serious event or it can be a series of less serious events.

Some reasons why an employee might claim constructive dismissal include:

Note: Constructive dismissals may not be unfair. But it could be difficult to show how a breach of contract was fair. A constructive dismissal can also lead to an employee claim for wrongful dismissal.

Fair and Unfair Dismissal Situations

There are two main reasons why a dismissal is either fair or unfair. It depends most on:

  1. The reason for ending an employee's contract.
  2. The way employers proceed during the sacking procedures.

Wrongful Dismissal

What is the meaning of wrongful dismissals? It occurs most when an employer breaks the terms of an employee's contract somewhere in the process. An example could be firing someone but failing to give them proper notice.

There are several reasons why an employee might take their employer to a tribunal. The most common reasons would be for an unfair, constructive, or wrongful discharge.

Note: There are significant differences between 'wrongful' and 'unfair' dismissals.

How to Dismiss Staff Fairly

Employers must act in a reasonable and fair manner during the dismissal procedure. They must also use sensitive conduct towards all fired employees.

Use the procedures set out in the Acas code of practice to dismiss staff fairly. Northern Ireland uses the Labour Relations Agency code of practice.

Check the 'Acas code of practice for disciplinary and grievance procedures' for guidance.

Note: Failing to follow the code can result in an employment or industrial tribunal. In this case you may need to pay compensation if you lose your case.

Dismissing an Employee: How to Dismiss Staff Fairly