The sequence of events that takes place before, during and after a dismissal is the key to minimising the likelihood of unfair dismissal claims or, at least, of their success.
Smaller companies often have dismissal procedures that fall short of the minimum standards of consistency and fairness, and can take place “on the hoof” after a trigger event. Large organisations, with their dedicated legal and human resources teams, tend to have much more detailed procedures and fewer successful unfair dismissal claims as a result.
It is important that all employees understand what is and is not acceptable conduct as soon as they start work. A list of punishable wrongdoings should be accompanied by a set of procedures that will be enacted as a consequence. For example lateness might result in pay being docked; harassment might result in a written warning; theft could mean summary dismissal (as could a certain number of written warnings). This should form part of the contract and be signed by both parties.
While there is some scope for discussion or employees’ counterclaims, any punishments dealt out should be visibly consistent and must follow the dismissal procedure to the letter. Inconsistency is fertile ground for unfair dismissal claims.
Peninsula Business Services can provide advice and assistance on any aspect of creating a watertight employee dismissal procedure. Contact us today – call 0800 0282 420, or use our callback form to arrange for us to get in touch at a time that is convenient for you.