What are the key legal points regarding the termination of employment?
Can an employer dismiss an employee because he or she is in prison?
If a contract of employment is terminated by mutual consent, is an employee still entitled to claim unfair dismissal?
Can an employee claim unfair dismissal on expiry of his or her fixed-term contract of employment?
How much notice is a resigning employee required to give his or her employer?
Can an employee retract his or her resignation?
What options does an employer have where an employee who has resigned begins to underperform during his or her notice period?
Can an employee claim unfair dismissal if he or she has resigned?
Where an employee resigns, can the employer pay the employee in lieu of his or her notice period?
Are there any possible repercussions for an employer that persuades an employee who has resigned and accepted an offer with another employer to stay?
How can an employer prevent a possible discussion about a compromise agreement resulting in a claim for constructive dismissal?
Are there any circumstances in which a contract of employment can end without resignation or dismissal?
If an employee is in prison, it may be fair for the employer to dismiss the employee by reason of his or her conduct, or because he or she is unable to perform the job.
The employer should consider factors such as the nature of the offence, the length of the sentence, the nature of the employee’s job, the effect of the employee’s absence on the business and the damage (if any) to the employer’s reputation.
The employee’s conduct could be a potentially fair reason for dismissal if, for example, he or she has been convicted of an offence that relates to his or her job, or the employer's reputation is likely to be damaged by the employee's conviction. The employer should carry out an investigation and conduct a fair disciplinary procedure, as far as possible in the employee’s absence, before deciding whether or not it would be reasonable to dismiss him or her.
If the employee is likely to be in prison for a long time, it may be fair for the employer to dismiss him or her on the grounds that he or she will be unable to perform the contract of employment. The employer must carry out a fair procedure and act reasonably in dismissing the employee for that reason.
Alternatively, the employer may be able to argue that the contract of employment has been frustrated. Frustration occurs where the contract comes to an end due to unforeseen circumstances that make it impossible for the parties to perform the contract. This is unlikely to apply for a relatively short prison sentence. Employers should be cautious of relying on the contract being frustrated rather than carrying out a fair procedure in dismissing the employee.
If the employee is imprisoned for a short time, for an offence that is unrelated to his or her work, it may be reasonable for the employer to hold the employee’s job open until he or she returns.
Can an employee claim unfair dismissal where a contract that was entered into for the completion of a specific task comes to an end?
Must an employee have been employed for a particular period of time before he or she can claim constructive dismissal?
Will the dismissal of an employee who is taken on temporarily to fill in for a pregnant woman be fair?
Where a fixed-term employee's contract is due to terminate while she is on maternity leave, does the employer have any obligation to re-employ her at the end of her maternity leave?
Where an individual has been employed on a 12-month fixed-term contract to cover maternity leave, can the employer terminate the contract early if the woman on maternity leave decides to return early?
Are employees on fixed-term contracts entitled to statutory notice of their dismissal?
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