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Dismissing employees can be a daunting process. It is important that employers get it right, especially after an employee has been employed for more than two years and has the protection of the unfair dismissal regime. Vardags’ employment team has considerable experience in representing companies who need advice on dismissing employees.
In our experience, involving our team early leads to optimal results so that we can assist in implementing the dismissal process from the initial stages in order to manage risk.
Alternatively, we can intervene after a dismissal has happened and where an employer is facing a potential claim. We can advise on the merits of the potential claim which is faced and possibly close down this risk at the ACAS early conciliation stage with a well thought out strategy.
Whatever the situation, the employment team at Vardags can provide a sound, practical way forward in the area of dismissals and bringing the employment relationship to an end.
There are only a small number of reasons an employer can put forward to justify a fair dismissal which complies with unfair dismissal law.
A fair reason could be poor performance, misconduct or redundancy for example.
Provided the employer has acted reasonably and followed fair processes in dismissing an employee there is scope to defend an unfair dismissal claim.
The downsides of getting this wrong is clear. Employment Tribunals can award financial compensation, which can be particularly costly if a group of employees is involved where a redundancy exercise is badly managed, for example. A Tribunal can also order that an employee is given their role back potentially.
Vardags can provide you with sensible tailored advice which meets the needs of your business to ensure that you can reduce headcount when needed whilst prioritising risk avoidance.
Performance management is an essential part of making sure that the people side of your business is at the top of its game.
Proactivity in managing performance is key. Too often performance concerns are left to drift which in most cases only leads to more difficulties further down the line.
The sooner formal performance management can be demonstrated, the sooner a potential exit and solution. Months or years of informal performance management count for little in the eyes of an Employment Tribunal.
We can help you to ensure that you have a process in place which is tailored to your business’ needs which works as effectively as possible to ensure the best interests of both you as the employer and which keeps your employees motivated and on side to deliver the best results.
We understand the expectations of an Employment Tribunal if your actions were to be under scrutiny in terms of how performance was managed prior to a dismissal. We will work with you to manage risk and to look to avoid potential unfair dismissal claims further down the line.
Sometimes redundancies are unavoidable whether due to a difficult economic climate or to achieve a streamlined restructure. The employment team at Vardags can help to manage your redundancy process from start to finish.
If you are making more than 20 employees redundant in a short timescale, special considerations will apply and a collective redundancy process will need to be followed.
Getting a redundancy consultation right is invaluable in terms of staff morale. Where employees understand the business rationale for making redundancies, change may be more easily accepted.
Demonstrating a commitment to avoiding redundancies where possible and genuinely exploring suitable alternative employment opportunities will help with this and will help to manage risk if an employment claim follows.
Listening to your workforce and strong communication in a redundancy situation will have benefits.
We can assist with template letters, notices to employees and scripts for meetings to demonstrate commitment to this and to ensure that there is a comprehensive paper trail.
Our employment team can help to protect your business from time consuming and costly employment litigation through a preventative strategy to ensure that your redundancy consultation, whether individual or collective, is on the right side of employment law requirements.
Dismissing regulated employees raises a host of additional considerations above and beyond a ‘standard’ dismissal. As regulated employees are required to meet the standards set out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to show they are ‘fit and proper’, the FCA needs a full explanation from you as to why the employment has terminated. Depending on the reason for the dismissal, the FCA may need to assess whether there are grounds to revoke the individual’s authorisation, or impose a fine, particularly if the reason is related to dishonesty or financial misconduct.
If your company carries out regulated functions which requires that you have at least one approved person, but does not require all employees to be approved, you may also need advice on how to ensure your firm can continue to meet its own requirements to the FCA, so that a dismissal does not impact on its ability to continue operating.
Our team can help you to ensure that all steps necessary for dealing with the dismissal of a regulated employee are met, and encourage as seamless a transition as possible. We can also advise you on the legal requirements around providing a regulatory reference.
A resignation may have an ominous tone to it if it refers to constructive dismissal.
A constructive dismissal is a resignation which is claimed to be a dismissal by an employee because the employee is claiming that there was no option but to resign due to an irreparable breakdown of the employment relationship. This can be caused either by a single act by the employer or several actions over time culminating in a ‘final straw’.
Not every attempt to argue constructive dismissal by an employee will succeed.
Our employment team can assist you in managing a potentially difficult constructive dismissal situation and arm you with the best strategy for dealing with such claims.
If an employee delays in resigning and claiming constructive dismissal, this could prejudice their position. Similarly, not every action by an employer will amount to a breach of the employment contract which is an essential element of a constructive dismissal claim.
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