General fairness of dismissal

Ashok Kanani

Editor's message: If an employee you dismiss challenges the fairness of his or her dismissal, your organisation must be able to demonstrate: that the dismissal is for one of the potentially fair reasons (capability, conduct, redundancy, breach of a statutory enactment, or some other substantial reason); and that you acted reasonably in all the circumstances.

It is very important that you follow a fair procedure. For example, where an employee has committed a criminal offence that occurred outside the workplace, you must still carry out your own investigation and follow a fair procedure before reaching a decision on whether or not to dismiss the employee or take any other disciplinary action.

In assessing the fairness of the dismissal, an employment tribunal will consider whether or not your decision to dismiss the employee was within the band of reasonable responses open to an employer. The tribunal will take into account your organisation's size and administrative resources when making this assessment.

Ashok Kanani, Employment law editor

Latest items in General fairness of dismissal

  • Fair dismissal of employee who refused to work extra hours before Christmas

    Date:
    7 November 2016
    Type:
    Law reports

    This employment tribunal held that an employer fairly dismissed an employee who refused to do overtime as required under her contract of employment and whose protests at being asked to do so caused discontent among her fellow workers.

  • Can an employee be disciplined for refusing to work overtime?

    Date:
    7 November 2016
    Type:
    Editor's choice

    An employee's contract states that she must work extra hours if needed. The employer asks everyone to work some Saturdays in the run up to Christmas. The employee flatly refuses. Should she be disciplined? That was the dilemma in Edwards v Bramble Foods Ltd.

  • Unfair dismissal

    Type:
    Employment law manual

    Updated to include information on Khan v Stripestar Ltd, in which the EAT considered the extent to which a defective disciplinary process can be cured through an appeal; and Grayson v Paycare concerning the correct approach to a Polkey reduction.

  • Date:
    1 September 2016
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    A recent case has caused uncertainty about the HR role in disciplinary procedures. HR should certainly not be judge, jury and hangman, writes John Charlton.

  • Case round-up

    Date:
    1 September 2016
    Type:
    Law reports

    Chris Cook is partner and head of employment and Keely Rushmore is senior associate at SA Law. They round up the latest rulings.

  • Dismissal of baker for not washing hands was fair

    Date:
    28 July 2016
    Type:
    Law reports

    An employment tribunal has held that an experienced employee should have appreciated the seriousness of breaching his employer's hygiene rules and it was appropriate for the employer to dismiss him.

  • Unfair dismissal: no limit on defects cured by fair appeal

    Date:
    21 July 2016
    Type:
    Law reports

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that there are no limitations on the nature and extent of the deficiencies in a first stage disciplinary procedure that can be cured by a thorough and effective appeal.

  • Date:
    1 July 2016
    Type:
    Legal guidance

    Employers need to tread carefully in situations where disparity of treatment arises. Natalie Jeffries, an associate from Burges Salmon, looks at the lessons from key cases where employees in an organisation were dealt with differently for the same types of misconduct.

  • Fair dismissal for use of racist term heard by white colleagues only

    Date:
    8 June 2016
    Type:
    Law reports

    An employment tribunal has held that an employer fairly dismissed an employee for using a racist term in the presence of white colleagues. The tribunal was unimpressed with the claimant's arguments that he did not realise anyone was listening, did not intend to offend, and the word is "street talk" where he lives.

  • Unfair dismissal: Employee's dismissal was fair even though colleague received lesser sanction

    Date:
    3 May 2016
    Type:
    Law reports

    In MBNA Ltd v Jones EAT/0120/15, the EAT held that the employee was fairly dismissed despite the fact that a colleague involved in the same incident received a final written warning.