Magazine article Management Today

Crash Course the Fair Way to Sack Someone

Magazine article Management Today

Crash Course the Fair Way to Sack Someone

Article excerpt

Johnson has got to go. His work is second-rate, he's always hung over in the morning, and he's a disruptive influence. Worse, he's not With the Programme; he's got that annoying smile that lets everyone know he thinks your strategic plan is balls. But how to get rid of him without ending up on the wrong side of an employment tribunal? Is it better to nail him for misbehaviour, tell him he doesn't cut the mustard, or just make him redundo?

CONSIDER YOUR GROUNDS. Disliking somebody is not grounds for firing them. There are five acceptable reasons for dismissing an employee: misconduct; capability or performance (including absenteeism); redundancy; breach of statutory obligations (eg, a driver losing their licence): and 'some other substantial reason', such as your main customer demanding the person's removal. 'If it comes before a tribunal, the employer always has to go first and specify the reasons for dismissal,' says Michael Burd, a partner in the employment department at solicitors Lewis Silkin.

DO SOME HOMEWORK. Before acting, check the individual's contract and their service record. If they've been there over 12 months they have a right to pursue unfair dismissal; and at less than 12 months they can still pursue a claim of discrimination on grounds of sex, race, disability or union involvement.

FOLLOW PROCEDURE. Have a clear policy of procedures for disciplinary and redundancy cases. Give the employee warning of allegations or complaints against them; give notice of a meeting where they can put their case; and allow them to have a colleague or union representative there. Says David Marshland, employment law specialist at HR consultancy William Mercer: 'If somebody has done something serious and you're uneasy about having them on the premises, that is not an argument for sacking them on the spot. It is an argument for suspending them. …

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