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

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