10.5 Top Tips on Dismissing Staff, Including the 5 Fair Reasons for Dismissal

5 fair reasons for dismissalDo’s

  1. Familiarise yourself with the minimum statutory disciplinary and dismissal procedures. Ignore these at your peril! (Check out Docs Wizard for a template dismissal policy)
  2. Be consistent and treat all staff the same to avoid legal claims and grievances.
  3. Be aware that in UK law there are only 5 fair (lawful) reasons for dismissal*
    1. Conduct/misconduct
    2. Capability/performance
    3. Redundancy
    4. Statutory illegality (someone does not have the legal right to work in UK)
    5. SOSR (some other substantial reason). Please don’t use this as a catch-all. It is more complex than that!
  4. Offer a right to appeal and take that appeal process seriously. If you don’t, it could result in an uplift to their compensation should they win a tribunal claim (check our hr docs wizard for template letters).
  5. Be wary of employees who covertly record all your meetings with them. Why not ask for mobile phones (yours and theirs) to be left outside the meeting room if in any doubt?


  1. Dress up a performance dismissal as a redundancy. That’s not great management practise and could well land you in legal hot water.
  2. Breach your own procedures when dismissing staff, as that could be a breach of contract or result in an unfair dismissal claim.
  3. Cut corners with the paperwork or process. Even with short service staff you may need a trail showing what you have done, the procedure you followed, the evidence you had and the reasons you chose to dismiss.
  4. Forget to follow the formal dismissal process if you identify that one or more of your employees are no longer permitted to work in the UK. It is still a dismissal.
  5. Be wrongfooted by an employee going off sick or claiming stress to avoid the inevitable. It’s your process so you are in charge. Be fair, but stick to what you need to do.

And Finally… 

10.5 Don’t make this personal. Stick to the process, keep calm, think logically, leave emotions at the meeting room door, be fair and above all, treat others as you would wish to be treated in similar circumstances!

*See Jaluch’s HR Blast on 5 Fair Reasons for Dismissal for further information.

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