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Unfair dismissal

Zeba Sayed

Editor's message: If you reach a decision to dismiss an employee, bear in mind that employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

If the employee complains to an employment tribunal that they were unfairly dismissed, you will have to show that the reason for the dismissal is one of the potentially fair reasons set out in the Employment Rights Act, such as redundancy, conduct and capability. If you can establish this, an employment tribunal will go on to consider if you acted reasonably in dismissing the employee, taking into account all the circumstances. A diligent employer will need to show that they investigated the matter, followed a fair procedure and ultimately made a reasonable decision to dismiss.

If a dismissal is found to be unfair, employment tribunals generally order the employer to pay financial compensation to the employee. Very occasionally, employment tribunals exercise their powers to order employers to re-engage or reinstate the employee.

Zeba Sayed, employment law editor

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