What are the rules if I wish to cease employing a member of staff?
If you wish to terminate an employee’s employment, to avoid a claim for unfair dismissal, it must be for a “potentially fair” reason (as prescribed by law) and must also be reasonable. It is important that you follow a proper procedure before terminating employment to minimise the risk of a finding of unfair dismissal. It is a good idea to have a written procedure for dealing with grievances or disciplinary issues for this purpose. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has a Code of Practice containing a minimum procedure which you can adopt for your own use. Visit www.acas.org.uk for more details.
You must also ensure you provide the employee with their full notice entitlements before dismissing them (unless you are dismissing for gross misconduct – in which case further advice should be sought). Employees are entitled to minimum notice periods prescribed by law (or you can provide for longer periods of notice in their employment contract).
We would recommend you seek legal advice before terminating someone’s employment, to ensure hat you do not fall foul of the law.