Termination of employment

Stephen SimpsonEditor's message: Every employment relationship will inevitably come to an end at some point, whether the split is amicable (for example retirement or the employee moving on to new pastures) or potentially difficult (as is often the case with dismissal).

The right not to be unfairly dismissed provides a reasonably high degree of protection for employees, with employers needing both to have a fair reason to dismiss - such as redundancy or the employee's misconduct or lack of capability - and to follow a fair procedure. They must also act reasonably in treating the reason as sufficient reason to dismiss.

Following changes to the law in the last decade, the concept of a compulsory retirement age is now limited to the rare circumstances in which this can be justified. Most employees are therefore free to "retire" at any age they choose, simply by giving the required notice of resignation.

Depending on the circumstances in which an individual's employment comes to an end, there will be practicalities for your organisation to consider, including the return of company property, calculating final payments and the option of paying in lieu of notice. In some circumstances - most commonly where the employee has given notice of resignation to work for a competitor - a period of garden leave may be a possibility.

Stephen Simpson, principal employment law editor

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