Editor's message: Every employment relationship will inevitably come to an end at some point, whether the split is amicable (for example retirement or the employee moving on to new pastures) or potentially difficult (as is often the case with dismissal).
The right not to be unfairly dismissed provides a reasonably high degree of protection for employees, with employers needing both to have a fair reason to dismiss - such as redundancy or the employee's misconduct or lack of capability - and to follow a fair procedure. They must also act reasonably in treating the reason as sufficient reason to dismiss.
Following changes to the law in the last decade, the concept of a compulsory retirement age is now limited to the rare circumstances in which this can be justified. Most employees are therefore free to "retire" at any age they choose, simply by giving the required notice of resignation.
Depending on the circumstances in which an individual's employment comes to an end, there will be practicalities for your organisation to consider, including the return of company property, calculating final payments and the option of paying in lieu of notice. In some circumstances - most commonly where the employee has given notice of resignation to work for a competitor - a period of garden leave may be a possibility.
Zuraida Curtis, employment law editor
Updated to reflect that the Court of Appeal will not hear the appeal in Awan v ICTS UK Ltd because the parties reached a settlement.
Updated to include information on Royal Mail Group Ltd v Jhuti, in which the Supreme Court considered the knowledge of the decision-maker in a dismissal.
In Royal Mail Group Ltd v Jhuti, the Supreme Court held that, where a dismissal for making protected disclosures is hidden behind an invented reason that is adopted by the decision-maker, the reason for the dismissal is the hidden reason rather than the invented one.
In Herbai v Hungary, the European Court of Human Rights held that a worker's right to freedom of expression was violated when the employer dismissed him due to his involvement with a website devoted to HR issues.
Consultant editor Darren Newman considers if an employer can ever be successful in claiming that a constructive dismissal is fair in the light of two recent cases lost by employers.
In Ward v Fiducia Comprehensive Financial Planning Ltd, an employment tribunal upheld a claim for constructive unfair dismissal, finding that the employer had put inappropriate and excessive pressure on the employee to agree to an extended restrictive covenant following his resignation.
In Retirement Security Ltd v Wilson, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the employer's "flawed" disciplinary investigation entitled the claimant to resign and successfully claim constructive dismissal.
Updated to include information on the maximum amount of a week’s pay for the purpose of calculating payments by the Secretary of State, effective from 6 April 2020.
Updated to include information on the maximum amount of a week’s pay for the purpose of calculating statutory redundancy pay, effective from 6 April 2020.
For many employers, the end of the year can signal a time for restructure rather than celebration. Helena Wheeler, senior lawyer at ESP Law, looks at what organisations need to consider to ensure their decisions don't lead them to an employment tribunal.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to the end of employment.
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