An Employment Solicitors Guide to Unfair Dismissal

One of the most fundamental of employment rights is the employee’s right not to be unfairly dismissed by their employer.  This right helps stabilise the power balance between employer and employee, ensuring employees are less vulnerable in their positions and less likely to be bullied with threats against their job security.  At the same time, the law still allows employers to dismiss employees for good reasons, meaning they are not expected to have to put up with incompetence because they are held back from dismissing people.  Furthermore, before an employee can take a claim of unfair dismissal to employment solicitors, they must have been employed by the employer for at least a year.

Should an employee have worked for their employer for over a year and feel they have been dismissed unfairly, they can make an unfair dismissal claim – which makes the employer responsible for proving the dismissal was fair.  This is normally done by showing the reason for the dismissal to be one of the commonly recognised reasonable causes for dismissal; some of these causes are more straight-forward than others however.  In some cases, for example, an employee will commit a criminal offense at work, which is very often an obviously reasonable cause for dismissing them – especially in the case of theft.  Amongst other things, this is a breach of trust between employer and employee and cases involving illegal activity make up some of the easiest cases of dismissal.

In other cases, employees may commit a criminal offense outside the workplace that nevertheless has an impact on their ability to do their job properly.  This offense doesn’t have to be serious; in many cases people lose their driving license for speeding and are dismissed from work because the job requires them to drive.  Of course, illegal activity isn’t the only thing that can have an impact on an employee’s ability to do their job; employees can also be fairly dismissed if they are deemed incapable of doing their job for other reasons, including long-term illness or lack of qualifications.  A gym instructor who fails to keep their training up to date, for example, can be dismissed on the grounds of not being properly qualified for their position.  Naturally, however, incompetence can be tough to prove in court, so employers are highly advised to gather ample evidence before dismissing the employee.   The same advice goes for cases in which employees are to be dismissed for bad conduct; no matter how fair an employer’s reasons for dismissing an employee might be, the most important part is proving that they are fair in court.

Being dismissed also covers cases in which employees are made redundant, which must also be done fairly.  The process whereby employees are selected for redundancy must be fair and objective and the employer must be able to show their intention to discontinue the work for which the employee was employed.  Oftentimes employers make the mistake of simply laying off employees without warning or any kind of selection procedure, which frequently results in large compensation claims.

Whatever the reason, claims of unfair dismissal are rarely straight-forward and professional assistance from employment solicitors is strongly recommended for both employer and employee.  A thorough understanding of the legal requirements and procedure within these cases is absolutely necessary if either are to have any hope of proving their case.

About the Author:
For legal advice on work related matters, contact Richard Nelson employment solicitors. Based in Nottingham, London, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester, you will be sure to get the specialist legal advice you need. Visit their specialist website
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