A guide to employee dismissal law

Dismissal letter being sent through letter box.

Employers should always take legal advice before deciding to dismiss an employee; there are many forms of action that can be taken against you if your employee dismissal is thought to be illegal. Many employees have sued the companies that they used to work for on the grounds of unfair dismissal, and a great deal of them have gone on to win the case incurring high legal costs. Unfortunately, some employers don’t have enough legal knowledge behind them to know whether they are acting illegally or not, but law firms in Kent can provide enough accurate legal advice to let employers know exactly where they stand – hopefully before a case is put forward.

Benefit from knowledge

By curating an excellent knowledge of employment law and dismissal, legislation companies can avoid having legal action taken against them by giving employers no grounds for a case. ‘Dismissal’ itself can come in the form of sacking, a fixed term contract not being renewed on the same terms or a ‘constructive dismissal’. In constructive dismissal, an employer may breach their obligations as part of a contract and may see an employee resign due to the way that they are being treated. Even though it involves resignation, it is branded ‘constructive dismissal’ due to the way that an employer may make it impossible for an employee to realistically stay with a company due to the poor treatment – the poor treatment itself forming a breach of a contract on the part of the employer themselves.

Fair and reasonable

Unfair dismissal occurs when an employer’s contract is terminated without good reason. This can include dismissal due to things like pregnancy, whistleblowing, discrimination or anything else that might be deemed unfair. If an employer cannot prove that a dismissal occurred due to one of the reasons that the law permits dismissal, then there’s every chance that an unfair dismissal case might be victorious. Reasons for fair dismissal include incompetence, illegality, redundancy, misconduct or what is called ‘some other substantial reason’ – a vague area, which often demands legal advice from solicitors in Canterbury. Another important fact is that even if the dismissal is justified, employers must ensure that the procedures they use are fair and reasonable – these usually need to adhere to certain codes and practices.

Unfair employee dismissal

Nonetheless, employees can’t usually file a claim for unfair dismissal unless they worked for a company continuously for two years – or one year if employment began before the 6th April 2012. Things that dismissed employees can claim for include re-engagement, reinstatement or compensation. The maximum basic award for unfair dismissal is £13,500, but compensatory awards can involve payouts up to as much as £74,200 or one year’s gross pay – whichever is lowest – plus fees incurred by the former employee. Factors such as age, the length of service and pay all influence what an employee might be paid out in the event of a successful claim. Employers in the region that are looking for expert help and advice from Canterbury solicitors should ensure that the best possible defence is in place and speak to a solicitor.