Ashok Kanani

Editor's message: If you are thinking of dismissing an employee, you need to be clear on the contractual and statutory requirements around the procedure to follow and the reason for the dismissal. This will help avoid the risk of an unfair or wrongful dismissal, or any other tribunal claim.

In some circumstances, for example where an employee commits an act of gross misconduct, you may be entitled to dismiss without notice. However, you must still carry out a thorough investigation and ensure that you follow a fair procedure before you reach your decision. A failure to give an employee the correct contractual or statutory notice of his or her dismissal without proper justification could result in an employment tribunal making an award for wrongful dismissal.

Be aware that the expiry of a fixed-term contract amounts to a dismissal. You must ensure that you have a fair reason for not renewing an employee's fixed-term contract (for example redundancy) and that you act reasonably in dismissing him or her for that reason. Not doing so may allow the employee to complain that the dismissal was unfair (provided that the qualifying conditions are met).

Sometimes a resignation can amount to a dismissal. This can happen where an employee resigns claiming constructive dismissal on account of a fundamental breach of his or her contract of employment.

Ashok Kanani, Employment law editor

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