Unfair dismissal

Commercially-focused legal advice

At Hutchinson Thomas we can advise you on the correct process in the event that you wish to dismiss an employee. We have a good understanding of the business world and will work with you to ensure that you can remove workers fairly if you need to.

In the event that you are involved in a dispute with an employee over an allegedly unfair dismissal, we can represent you to deal robustly with the matter on your behalf. 

What constitutes an unfair dismissal?

Once an employee has worked for you for the qualifying period of two years, you need to show a fair reason for dismissing them. Under the Employment Rights Act 196, the possible reasons are:

  • Lack of capability or qualification;
  • Conduct;
  • Redundancy;
  • Employment would breach a statute, for instance, if a driver had been banned from driving;
  • Some other substantial reason.

As an employer, the onus is on you to show that you have acted reasonably and that the justification given was sufficient.

As well as ensuring the grounds for the dismissal are reasonable, you will also need to follow a fair procedure before deciding to dismiss the employee. The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures should be followed where applicable. In respect of redundancy, there is also strict protocol which must be adhered to, which includes a fair selection process.

Some reasons for dismissal are classed as automatically unfair, such as for whistleblowing, health and safety reasons, pregnancy, childbirth or family leave or trade union membership.

Legal representation 

If you have been notified of a potential claim against you, it is advisable to take action without delay. It may be possible to settle a case of unfair dismissal without recourse to an employment tribunal, which is almost always more cost-effective and can protect your reputation.

In the event that you are able to settle the matter, you will need to enter into a settlement agreement with your ex-employee. This is effectively a payment to them in return for their agreeing to drop any claims against you and agreeing to confidentiality in respect of both your business and the agreement itself.

At Hutchinson Thomas, we have wide experience in dealing with unfair dismissal claims in a range of sectors. We will work with you to ascertain the facts and enforce your rights where necessary. We can negotiate on your behalf to try to reach a satisfactory conclusion and put the right documentation in place to conclude the matter.

Contact us

Hutchinson Thomas is the first law firm in Wales to be awarded the Law Society Mark of Excellence. The firm and many of our lawyers are recognised year on year in the Legal 500 publication as leading individuals in their field.

We work with employers across all of their employment law requirements. If you would like to speak to one of our expert employment solicitors about unfair dismissal and settlement agreements, ring us on the following numbers or fill in our contact form.