Fire & Forget

Fire & Forget - dismissal without tears - 

Employers can fret about dismissing an employee. However, you can terminate employment legally whilst minimising risk. 

Employees who commenced employment after 6th April 12 require two years' continuous employment service to bring a claim. However, all employees have "Day One Rights" that commence on employment (and in some cases before!). These rights relate to discrimination claims (age, sex, race, disability, etc) as well as dismissal related to health & safety concerns, whistleblowing and being involved in trade union activities. 

For an employee with less than 2 years' service you need to clear that no Day One Rights claims exist. It is advisable to take legal advice before acting. Always confirm your decision to the affected employee in writing. 

For an employee with more than 2 years' service you will need to have a fair reason to dismiss and follow a fair procedure to avoid an unfair dismissal claim. 

If there is an existing dispute you can have a "without prejudice" conversation as part of a genuine attempt to resolve a dispute. This may render the conversation inadmissible in later proceedings. 

On 29th July 2013 the law introduced "protected conversations". However, their effectiveness is limited as any indication of discrimination claims could enable the entire discussion to become admissible in law. 

Settlement Agreements offered as part of "without prejudice" conversations coupled with "protected conversations" could be the best way forward as a financial settlement can be presented with a legally binding requirement not to sue the employer for any claims arising from his/her employment. 

The secret to the whole process is to take advice before acting. This way you minimise your risk of a claim and make the procedure less daunting and more manageable.

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