When an employee commits an act that causes damage or injury, or if a tipping point is reached in a history of poor discipline, he or she may be summarily dismissed. Summary dismissal takes place with immediate effect and the employee will not be entitled to work their notice period.
The biggest risk to employers is that they are accused of unfair dismissal (possibly with justification). One example would be if other employees survived actions or derelictions similar to those that precipitated the dismissal. Another would be if warnings were not given when the transgressions were minor but cumulative.
Where there is reasonable risk to person or property, employers are within their right to summarily dismiss an employee and remove them from the premises immediately. However, wherever practicable and safe, this should be the last resort after warnings, consultation with the employee or a suspension, possibly on full pay pending an investigation.
Maintaining consistency, fairness and upholding the letter of the employment contract – and, of course, the law – should minimise the risk of claims of unfair dismissal by summarily dismissed employees.
Peninsula Business Services can provide advice and assistance on any aspect of summary dismissal. 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.