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
Updated to take into account a change relating to whether or not a disclosure is in the public interest.
Updated to include information on the Court of Appeal decision in Chesterton Global Ltd and another v Nurmohamed on the definition of "in the public interest".
Updated to include information on O’Brien v Ministry of Justice, in which the Supreme Court referred to the European Court of Justice the question of the retrospective application of the Part-time Workers Directive and pension calculation.
Updated to include information on Walker v Innospec Ltd and others, in which the Supreme Court considered entitlement to pension benefits for same-sex partners.
The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the employment tribunal that disclosures made by a worker satisfied the "public interest" requirement for protection under the whistleblowing provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The disclosures related to a breach of the employment contracts of 100 senior managers, including the whistleblower.
Updated to include information on Chesterton Global Ltd & another v Nurmohamed, in which the Court of Appeal ruled on the public interest test for a protected disclosure.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that, on the particular facts, the employee's dismissal for 20 months' unauthorised absence was unfair.
Kirsti Laird is senior associate at Charles Russell Speechlys. She rounds up the latest rulings.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that, in a conduct dismissal, an employer must establish that the reason or principal reason for the dismissal relates to conduct, and not that the conduct itself is culpable.
Updated to include information on Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust v Harland and others, in which the EAT considered how to determine the "principal purpose" in relation to a service provision change.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to dismissal.