Can I Just Dismiss an Employee Even If There Have Been No Previous Disciplinary Issues?
At Quest Consulting Services, this question is one of our top 5 most frequently asked questions; we are always surprised at the amount of confusion surrounding this matter.
Simply put, no, if you have a permanent employee with no disciplinary record, you cannot dismiss them unless their offence amounts to Gross Misconduct or Gross Negligence. To do so would constitute unfair dismissal, where the employee has not been given the chance to improve their performance or conduct. If you unfairly dismiss an employee in this way, they have legal grounds to take you to court and you may find yourself on the losing side of an employment tribunal.
However, if your employee is still in their probationary period, you may dismiss them by serving their notice, provided you have a valid reason for dismissing them.
To avoid an unfair dismissal, you should have a disciplinary procedure that is fully integrated into your company policy. This should detail what your organisation considers to be Gross Misconduct, misconduct and capability issues, as well as what disciplinary actions an employee can expect at each stage of the process. When an employee with a clear record commits an offence, this should trigger the commencement of the disciplinary procedure rather than a dismissal. For more information on what a disciplinary procedure involves, read our blog ‘What is the Disciplinary Process’.
If you’re struggling with an issue, or just want peace of mind, why not attend our Disciplinary Workshop? Tickets are available here.
For a free review of your disciplinary process or for help on implementing one, call Jonny on 0844 8797286.
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