Termination of employment after more than 2 years of service
When staff has been employed by your business for more than 2 years you could be facing serious issues in the event of dismissing an employee without the use of the correct processes. Employers need to be very careful when handling dismissals in these cases and be certain they have followed all the correct procedures.
As an employer you should always follow the ACAS code of practice and follow the correct disciplinary and grievance procedures to ensure you do not end up at an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.
Tribunal cases for dismissing an employee unfairly happen more often than you may think
Employees know their rights and if you as an employer did not follow the correct processes you are at risk. Tribunal proceedings can be very costly and are very frustrating, especially if you could have prevented it from happening with just a few simple tasks.
Termination of employment after less than 2 years of service
If an employee has been employed by your business for less than 2 years it is much easier for UK employers to terminate their employment.
There are different types of employee dismissals
You may have heard of these before:
- Fair dismissal
- Unfair dismissal
- Constructive dismissal
- Wrongful dismissal
Any of the last 3 types of dismissal could end you in trouble. In order to protect employees across the UK there are many strict rules and procedures in place that employers MUST follow. If an employer fails to follow the correct steps a tribunal could follow.
Employee tribunal cases and the aftermath of dismissing an employee
The obvious problem with having to go to an employment tribunal would be the direct costs involved, but what about your reputation?
Your business’ reputation can be seriously harmed by tribunal cases when dismissing an employee unfairly. Not only would your customers be influenced by this, but also potential new employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders could decide to back away from you in the future.
Even when the situation didn’t get completely out of hand, and you managed to let go of your employee without appearing at the tribunal, that employee still has the possibility to put a very negative marker on your brand and reputation for other potential employees.
Think of websites such as Glasdoor. There are many areas on the internet where terminated employees can vent and promote their negative experiences, and can influence others for years to come. If prospected employees think you’re in the business of dismissing employees unfairly they probably will reconsider applying.
Let’s prevent this all from happening!
Dismissing an employee can be done without issues as long as you follow the right steps.
By managing your dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedure according to the ACAS code of practice when you dismiss an employee you will protect yourself against tribunal cases.
By offering HR best-practice solutions consistently through your internal HR team, HR manager or outsourced HR service provider, you will also be able to maintain high levels of staff satisfaction and staff loyalty as well as prevent mistakes made during the recruitment process, leaving you with positive employee reviews only!
The challenges when dismissing an employee
HR procedures are complex, and there are many of them. As an employer you need to understand these procedures and follow them to the letter. As an employer you need to be really careful if you choose to farm these HR tasks out to managers or department heads. Not only will it take them considerably more time to action on any HR tasks due to their limited knowledge, they are also much more likely to make mistakes, leaving you at risk.
You may not have an internal HR team, HR manager or outsourced HR service provider and you may think that in a company like yours spending money on HR processes is a waste of money.
However, you may have also realised by now that the money it would cost having a dedicated HR support service in place is in fact a fraction of the money it could cost you not utilising the support from HR professionals.
HR services and their benefits to employers who wish to dismiss an employee
In addition to the above benefits of managing your HR by professionals, HR also supports businesses to further prosper by:
- Improving employee performance and productivity
- Improving employee loyalty and decreasing staff turnover
- Reducing absence and its related costs
- Supporting development of skills and abilities of your staff
10 tips for dismissing an employee
- Be consistent
You cannot dismiss an employee for an offence others have been guilty of as well, without the same punishment. The employee could claim discrimination.
- Be fair
The punishment must suit the crime! You can’t dismiss an employee for an one time – minor offense.
- Always have your procedures and processes in writing
Make sure the employee has read and signed they have received these processes at the beginning of their employment.
- Make sure your management team follows your set procedures to the letter
Procedures on paper are no good if no one pays attention to them. Each individual in your business, but most importantly your managers, need to fully understand these procedures and take them seriously.
- Have a valid reason for dismissal
You can’t just fire someone because you don’t like them. You need to have a good reason for dismissing that employee and you need to have proof to support that reason.
- Investigate any claims made against the employee causing the dismissal
If the employee is being dismissed for an offense, you need to be sure that it happened. You have the responsibility to ensure your employees are being treated fairly, so you can’t simply say something happened without any proof.
- Ensure you have followed your procedures on disciplinary procedures in advance of the dismissal
As previously stated, you need to follow the ACAS code of practice on this. You need to ensure that your policies are correctly set up; otherwise they will prove to be useless in protecting you from employment tribunal hearings.
- Always be clear and specific
Whatever processes you follow, no matter the policy, you always need to make sure that your staff fully understands what is expected of them and what rights they have. If you write your policies out in such a way they can be interpreted differently by different readers you are definitely going to run into some issues.
- Be fast
Don’t let issues sit and further worsen the situation. Act on grievances, disciplinaries and other staff issues swiftly to avoid further aggregation in your workplace. The employee in question could have a negative effect on other employees, which will make the issue even harder to deal with.
- Consider alternative options
Is dismissing an employee the only option you have? You may want to consider alternatives such as a disciplinary procedure, or a personal improvement plan.