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Dismissal

‘Dismissal’ means the ending of a person’s employment by their employer. Dismissal can be for misconduct, but it doesn’t have to be (eg dismissal might be for redundancy).

Employers who want to dismiss an employee have to:

  • act in good faith
  • have a good reason
  • follow a fair and reasonable process
  • have an open mind when dealing with problems so they ensure outcomes are not pre-determined.

If the employer doesn’t follow the above, the employee may be able to take a personal grievance claim against the employer.

Reasons to dismiss an employee

The following are reasons why an employer may want to dismiss an employee:

If an employee is dismissed and was not in a trial period, they have the right to ask the employer for a written statement of the reasons for dismissal. This request can be made up to 60 days after they find out about the dismissal. The employer must provide the written statement within 14 days of such a request. If the employer fails to provide this written statement, the employee may consequently be able to raise a grievance after the required 90-day limitation period. Where dismissal is in relation to a trial period the employer needs to provide an explanation if asked, but this can be verbal under a trial period.

Fair process for dismissing an employee

If an employer wants to dismiss an employee, there are some general principles of fair process that an employer must follow.

There are also some suggested steps that an employer should follow when dismissing an employee for a specific type of problem:

Notice period

An employer must give the appropriate amount of notice specified in the employment agreement unless they are dismissing for serious misconduct.

Summary dismissal

Sometimes, in situations of serious misconduct, an employer may be able to dismiss an employee without:

  • giving them any notice, or
  • any payment instead of notice.

In this instance the employee has to leave work right away and is not paid for any notice period or part of notice period. They are still entitled to any annual holidays etc they are owed, in their final pay. The employer must still have a good reason and follow a fair process.

You may find our sample letters useful should you decide to dismiss an employee. Both letters deal with a different circumstance:

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