Zeba Sayed

Editor's message: The need to dismiss an employee can arise for various reasons, including redundancy, as a disciplinary sanction or due to on-going absence because of the employee's ill health.

If you are faced with a situation where you have to dismiss an employee, you should familiarise yourself with your organisation’s policies and procedures and ensure that you follow them. As well as being good practice, this will assist in ensuring that the situation giving rise to the possibility of dismissal is dealt with fairly. Also, failing to follow procedures correctly might cause difficulties if you have to defend a decision to dismiss on appeal, or if the employee challenges the fairness of the dismissal in an employment tribunal.

Be aware that the expiry of a fixed-term contract amounts to a dismissal. Therefore, you need to ensure that you have a fair reason for not renewing an employee's fixed-term contract and that you act reasonably in deciding not to renew the contract. Not doing so may allow the employee to complain that the dismissal was unfair.

Zeba Sayed, employment law editor

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