Unfair dismissal claims can be a costly and time-consuming process for employers in the UK. To avoid facing such claims, it’s important for businesses to understand what can lead to an unfair dismissal claim and how to prevent it. Tribunal claims are public record, and can generate negative publicity for your business.
Common reasons why businesses may face an unfair dismissal claim
1. Lack of Clear Procedures
Employers should have clear procedures in place for dismissing employees. This includes giving employees notice of dismissal, providing reasons for dismissal, and giving them the opportunity to appeal the decision. Failure to follow these procedures can result in an unfair dismissal claim.
Employers cannot dismiss employees on the basis of their race, gender, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics. Dismissing an employee for any of these reasons can lead to an unfair dismissal claim.
3. Unfair Selection Criteria
If employers use unfair criteria to select employees for redundancy, this can result in an unfair dismissal claim. For example, if an employer only selects employees over a certain age for redundancy, this could be seen as age discrimination.
4. Lack of Evidence
Employers should have evidence to support their decision to dismiss an employee. This includes records of poor performance, misconduct, or other issues that led to the dismissal. Without this evidence, an employer may struggle to defend against any dismissal claim.
5. Failure to Follow Disciplinary Procedures
Employers should follow disciplinary procedures when dealing with employee misconduct or poor performance. This includes giving employees a fair hearing, providing warnings, and giving them the opportunity to improve their performance. Failure to follow these procedures can result in an unfair dismissal claim.
To prevent facing an unfair dismissal claim, businesses should take the following steps:
- Develop clear procedures for dismissing employees and follow them consistently.
- Ensure that selection criteria for redundancy are fair and non-discriminatory.
- Keep accurate records of employee performance and conduct.
- Follow disciplinary procedures when dealing with employee misconduct or poor performance.
- Train managers and supervisors on fair dismissal practices and procedures.
By taking these steps, businesses can reduce the risk of facing a tribunal claim and protect their reputation and finances.
If you need further guidance on how to prevent claims or assistance in handling a claim, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of experienced HR consultants can help you navigate this complex area of employment law and minimise your risk.