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 include information on British Airways v Pinaud, in which the EAT held that a part-time employee had been subjected to less favourable treatment in relation to days of availability to work.
A table listing the unfair dismissal awards made by employment tribunals in 2016/17.
Updated to include information on the Freedom to speak up: raising concerns (whistleblowing) policy for the NHS and the Whistleblowing Commission's Code of practice for effective whistleblowing arrangements.
Updated to include information on Federatie Nederlandse Vakereniging and others v Smallsteps BV, in which the ECJ held that a "pre-pack" administration may not prevent employees from having TUPE rights.
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 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.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to unfair dismissal.