Want to dismiss an employee? Read this first

Every agency needs dynamic staff who pull their weight, but sometimes you may feel you are saddled with dead wood.

If you think you’ve given someone a fair chance to do the job and they’re still not performing, be careful before you show them the door – it’s crucial to comply with the law.

Fair dismissal

To dismiss a member of staff, an employer needs to have a fair reason. These reasons are:

  • Conduct – eg dishonesty, violence, unauthorised absence.
  • Capability – eg poor performance or ill-health.
  • Breach of a statutory restriction.
  • Redundancy.
  • Retirement.
  • Some other substantial reason.

The phrase ‘substantial reason’ may sound a bit broad, and it is. As an example, this reason has been successfully argued in cases where a temporary employee has been taken on to cover a permanent employee who is on maternity leave, and that temp is subsequently dismissed.

Code of Practice

Any travel business considering a dismissal also needs to demonstrate that it acted fairly when it decided to dismiss that particular employee and that it followed a fair procedure in doing so.

In most cases, this involves – as a minimum – following the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure and its associated guidance. The code is essential reading for any travel business or agency involved in dismissing or disciplining an employee.

The code strictly only applies to misconduct and capability dismissals. However, if you’re dismissing an employee for other reasons or redundancy, you still have to make sure you act fairly. As a result, it’s considered good practice to follow the general spirit of the code. 

Avoid facing a tribunal

Should an employment tribunal find that an employee has been unfairly dismissed, it can order the employer to reinstate that person, re-engage the employee or pay compensation to them – that’s certainly a situation you’ll want to avoid as an employer.

We always recommend that advice is taken prior to the dismissal of any employee.

Advice from Mark Minns, partner at employment law specialists MPM Legal LLP

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