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Five types of employment dismissal

Being dismissed can be stressful and often unexpected but for the employer, this is very much a last resort. If an employer decides that dismissing a worker is the only solution, this process must be carried out fairly and without prejudice. Employers should get advice from the internal human resources department or an outsourced team to ensure fairness. All disciplinary policies must have been followed before resorting to a dismissal. There are five different types of dismissal including fair dismissal, voluntary redundancy, unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal and wrongful dismissal.

What is voluntary redundancy?

If an employer is planning to reduce its workforce, you can choose to offer to leave the company. This is a form of fair dismissal as the decision is optional. Older workers often opt for voluntary redundancy as the severance package can tide them over to retirement. However, it is important to remember that just because you volunteer for redundancy, does not mean you will be able to take it.

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What is a fair dismissal?

An employee is fairly dismissed when the employer has valid reasons for terminating the employment. Redundancy is a form of fair dismissal, but there are other scenarios. A fair dismissal can relate to an employee’s behaviour or lack of competence. The employer would have to show that the decision and process were handled fairly and correctly.

What situations can account for an unfair dismissal?

There are many reasons a dismissal can be unfair, such as a demotion in a role, cutting pay or refusing contractual benefits. It can also relate to refusal of a flexible working request without a valid reason, poorer treatment due to joining a trade union, or changing a parent’s role upon return from maternity or paternity leave or making them redundant. Dismissal is a last resort on the part of the employer and all avenues should be explored before making this decision.

What are some examples of constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal involves a person leaving their job due to the employer’s unacceptable behaviour. A constructive dismissal may involve having salary stopped or being bullied or harassed by management or colleagues. The advice, however is always to discuss with a professional whether your case is worth pursuing. For those wishing to pursue a constructive dismissal claim there are a number of professionals who can assist and a wealth of information available such as https://www.employmentlawfriend.co.uk/constructive-dismissal https://www.employmentlawfriend.co.uk/constructive-dismissal

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What is wrongful dismissal?

A wrongful dismissal occurs when a company breaches a worker’s contract and may refer to notice period or pay. Examples include letting a member of staff go without paying the notice period. To successfully lodge a wrongful dismissal claim, the worker must demonstrate that they were let go in breach of the staff contract and that this resulted in a loss of salary and benefits. Damages awarded would reflect the losses sustained as a result of the employer’s breach of contract.

As an example, a surgeon who was dismissed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after raising concerns about patient safety has won a wrongful dismissal case against the health watchdog and received £23,000 in compensation.

What should I do if I feel I am being treated unfairly?

Speak to management and try to resolve the issue internally. This is less stressful for all parties and you may be able to find a solution. It’s important to understand what type of treatment you feel you are facing and in the case of bullying, the workplace will have a policy that it must follow. Your employer has a legal duty of care to protect you at work.


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