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
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 unfair dismissal.