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Although an employer can dismiss an employee at any time there are statutory procedures which some employers ignore. There are also minimum levels of notice unless you are dismissed for gross misconduct, or payments in lieu of notice.

An employer must at all times act reasonably and there must be a fair reason for dismissal.

Firstly the dismissal must be for the following reasons:-


  1. the employee is unable or unqualified to do the job in hand (e.g. long term sickness absence)

  2. the employee’s conduct is unsatisfactory (e.g. poor attendance)

  3. the employee is legally prevented from continuing to carry out their job (e.g. a driver who loses their driving licence)

  4. redundancy (e.g. due to closure of premises)

  5. some other substantial reason (e.g. a refusal to agree to a necessary and reasonable change in terms and conditions of employment)


Secondly, the employer must act reasonably in all the circumstances in deciding to dismiss the employee. There are now certain statutory procedures governing disciplinary matters and redundancy which must be followed or the dismissal will be automatically unfair and will result in higher awards of compensation. All dismissals usually involves following certain procedures and may involve consideration by the employer of alternatives to dismissal (e.g. transfer to a different job or different duties in cases of poor performance or redundancy).