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How to safely terminate employment

How to safely terminate employment

Taking the decision to terminate an employee can be a stressful one. How do you make sure you have a legitimate case? What’s the correct way to dismiss them to avoid being landed with an employment tribunal hearing? In this week’s blog we aim to shed some light on the factors you need to consider and will also explain the correct procedure to dismiss an employee safely.

What is dismissal?

Firstly, let’s look at the term dismissal. Dismissal is when you end an employee’s contract. There are many different kinds of dismissal including:

• Fair: You have a valid reason for dismissing someone such as redundancy, they committed gross misconduct, they are incapable of, or something prevents them legally being able to, do their job, e.g. they have lost their driving licence.
• Unfair: An employee can claim unfair dismissal and take you to an employment tribunal if they think the reason was unfair, you acted unreasonably or the reason you gave for dismissal wasn’t the real one. There are many reasons that are automatically deemed unfair: these include any discrimination over age, gender or race, pregnancy, acting as a trade union representative, joining or not joining a trade union and many more. You can find out more about unfair dismissal here
• Constructive: When an employee resigns because you’ve breached their employment contract. This could be because you cut their wages without agreement, unfairly increase workload, make them work in dangerous conditions for example.
• Wrongful: Wrongful dismissal is when you break the terms of an employee’s contract during the dismissal process. For example, dismissing someone without giving them propert notice.

What’s the difference between fair and unfair dismissal?

The difference between a fair and unfair dismissal rests entirely on two points; the reason for dismissal and how you act during the dismissal process. You must act ‘fairly’ and ‘reasonably’ and the law has very specific ways of defining these terms. To dismiss fairly you need a ‘fair’ reason such as conduct, behaviour, capability redundancy, breach of statutory restriction or some other substantial reason, such as a restructure. Even if you terminate via a fair procedure, if the reason isn’t ‘fair’ then the dismissal will be deemed unfair.

If your reason is fair, you must then act ‘reasonably’ before you terminate someone. This means you must investigate properly, consider alternatives and be consistent with how you have treated other employees. If you are dismissing an employee because of misconduct, you must conduct a thorough investigation before holding a disciplinary hearing and ensure they have the right to appeal your decision.

How to stay safe

To terminate an employee should be considered as a last resort. You should consider all possible alternatives before taking the decision to terminate. These alternatives will differ based on the particular issue you have with the employee. For example, if you are considering dismissing because of ill health, you should consider how you could get the employee back to work. You may need to consult their doctor, arrange an occupational health assessment or make adjustment to their role/work space if they are suffering from a disability. If on the other hand performance is the issue, then the employee must be warned about their short comings and given the time and support to improve.

If you make sure you act fairly and reasonably at all stages of the process, and have a legitimate reason for termination you should be safe from the penalties you may be concerned about from an employment tribunal. The ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) code of practice has set out clear advice to business owners on how to dismiss someone properly. You can download the full code of practice here.

The implications of getting it wrong

If you are taken to an employment or industrial tribunal for unfair or wrongful dismissal the penalties could be considerable. You may be ordered to reinstate the employee into their previous position or ‘re-engage’ them, (re-employ them in a different job). You may have to pay compensation which varies depending on the employees age, gross weekly pay and length of service. The compensation a tribunal can award is limited unless you are penalised for unfair dismissal in cases relating to health and safety or whistleblowing. In these cases, compensation can be particularly severe.

If you are considering terminating an employees contract be sure to obtain professional advice to ensure you are working to the correct procedures. The team at Crosse HR are here to help whether you are looking for advice or a professional intermediary to ensure you get the resolution you desire whilst staying on the right side of the law.

References

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1650
https://www.gov.uk/dismiss-staff/overview

5 reasons to outsource

5 reasons to outsource

Whatever your business or sector, you need the right expertise in your business to be successful. You need talented marketers who know how best to spend your marketing budget to deliver a return on your investment. You need an HR outsource team to recruit the best people for your business, drive engagement and deal with people management issues. You need a diligent accountant or even a whole accounting department to make sure you are managing your books effectively and making the most of your finances.

These skilled people all come at a price. You are competing with every other business who also want these talented individuals which could mean you find it difficult to find the right people. Alternatively, you may feel that there is a shortage of the right people to fill your requirements. Whether you can find the right people or not. The costs of recruiting a qualified, talented person, or team, are high, and the time required to manage them means taking you eye off other areas of the business, like working on how to grow it further.

Many small business owners are nervous about outsourcing. They worry about yet another cost to the business and the fear that their precious business information is in somebody else’s hands. There are so many advantages to HR outsource however and here are just a few to try to ease any worries that you may have.

1. A better return on investment

The costs of recruiting a qualified person or team are sky high. Before they even get to work you have to think about the costs of advertising your position or hiring an expensive recruitment agency to do the job for you, not to mention the hours you’ll spend pouring over CVs and conducting interviews. Then, once you have found the correct candidate you’ve got countless other costs to look forward to including salaries, benefits, insurance, payroll taxes, paid time off as well as work space, furniture, computers, software. The list is endless!

The financial savings of outsourcing are significant. Outsourcing allows you to balance your requirements to your business needs and ONLY pay for the actual work delivered, nothing else. Plus, it’s tax deductible.

2. Make the most of your time

The time it takes to manage your teams on a weekly basis can be put to much better use. No more weekly update meetings or valuable time lost from your diary spent managing office operations. That’s what your outsourced supplier will do. You can spend the time instead on activities that are vital to your business objectives like working on growth strategies or building relationships.

3. Benefit from a team of experts

Using your investment on outsourcing functions of your business gives you access to a team of experts. They specialise in what they do and have to continually develop their skills to compete, which means you can trust that the service you are going to receive will be top notch. An HR outsource firm for example will be filled with experienced HR consultants or employment lawyers who continually update their skills and qualifications to retain their competitive advantage, expand their services and remain compliant. A successful marketing firm on the other hand is only as good as the results they generate for their clients. They will have a wide range of skills in house to help you grow your business through a variety of channels. Plus, they will be accountable for the return on investment they have committed to achieving for you.

4. Scale your service requirements in line with business growth

One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing is scalability. As your business grows you can simply add further functions. You can find the right supplier with the qualified team needed to deliver your requirements. You won’t need to worry about recruiting more staff or having to make redundancies should the business take a down turn. What’s more, they are on hand to help you think about your growth strategy, help you earn more money and drive your business forward.

5. Time and speed

By outsourcing you have the flexibility to choose a provider that best suits your business needs. You could choose a provider who has a different time zone. That way, the work you need doing will be done while your business is closed for the day, you can simply wake up to the work delivered to you the next morning.

Setting clear deadlines and deliverables for suppliers can also help you work faster and provide a better service. If suppliers are contracted to performing a task by a certain time you can be sure that it will get done, meaning your product can get to market quicker or your accounts will be submitted on time, for example.

Contact us today if you’d like to HR outsource to make your life and business run smoothly.