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The Dismissal Process

For whatever reason(s) there comes a point when it will be necessary to dismiss a member of staff. This could be due to redundancy or as a result of a disciplinary issue. Whatever the reason behind the action, there is a requirement to follow a fair procedure and to be seen to be fair and totally professional in the decision making process.

Probationary Periods
With all new employees it is prudent to have a probationary period for the first few months of their employment for both parties to assess their respective suitability for the role. During this period it is common for the employment to be terminable by either party on short notice, quite often one week.

Employers should assess an employee's suitability during the probationary period and let them know how they are getting on. If the employee doesn't work out their employment could be terminated, or if the employer feels they have potential, the probationary period extended. Employers should always ensure that they do not extend the probationary period beyond 103 weeks so as to avoid employees obtaining the qualifying service for claims of unfair dismissal.

Dismissing fairly
To dismiss an employee who qualifies for unfair dismissal protection (usually, but not always, because they have two year's service) fairly, the employer must first have a potentially fair reason for doing so. The potentially fair reasons include:

A statutory requirement which could prevent the employment continuing would be for example, a driver losing his licence. Employers must also act reasonably in how they carry out the dismissal. However, where the reason for dismissal is retirement, whether it is fair will depend on whether the employer has complied with the duty to consider working beyond retirement. Guidelines are available for you to consider from the ACAS website at

Acting reasonably
Reasonableness is undefined. However, for alleged misconduct, tribunals will probably consider whether the employer:

Reasonableness may also depend on whether the employee could be expected to understand the consequences of their behaviour.

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Dismissals on performance grounds
Sometimes an employee's performance at work may be below the standard expected. Employers should follow these procedures to ensure reduce the risk of any dismissals being held to be unfair:

Help and Advice
Disciplinary processes, especially where there are grounds for dismissal can sometimes be similar to stepping into a minefield. If you don't have the benefit of an HR department, there can be huge risks by taking this road alone. Pure Employment Law are offering users of the Transport's Friend website free initial advice. You can contact us on 01243 836840 or visit our website

Further Reading
For further information relating to the Dismissal process, please use the links below for further guidance.

Code of Practice - ACASPDF logo
Dismissal Procedure

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