Reasons for Dismissal

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Ending a person’s employment is a decision that many employers have to face at some point.

Depending on the situation, this can be a case of misconduct with repeated warnings, serious misconduct or a more complicated case of redundancy or performance issues.

Employers can only dismiss someone if they have a good reason and follow the correct procedure. It is important that good reasons and a fair procedure followed be well documented. This procedure can vary based on different company policies and individual agreements, but the rules must still comply with the Employment Relations Act 2000.

Good reasons for dismissal

The following is a list of fair reasons for dismissal.

  • Repeated Misconduct – Where the employee’s behaviour is below workplace standards of behaviour (and they have been warned repeatedly)
  • Serious MisconductWhere they partake in serious misconduct (and following a fair process)
  • Performance issues – Where the employee is performing below the standards of their job or not meeting the standards set out for them
  • Redundancy – Where the role is no longer required by the business due to technology, a down turn in profit or some other reason that has made the role unnecessary
  • Incapacity – Where the employee lacks the ability to complete their job, for example for medical reasons

Reasons for dismissal that are not acceptable.

  • Personal reasons – A personal dislike of the employee that is not related to performance
  • Prejudice – Where an employer wishes to dismiss an employee due to a prejudice held by themselves, or another employee. For example, a desire not to work with staff of a particular gender
  • Replacement – Where an employer believes another employee or a prospective employee would be more successful in a particular role, but there are no performance issues with the current employee
  • One-off misconduct – Where an employee has a single incident of misconduct (not serious misconduct) such as running late to work once

What do employers need to know?

It is important that employers understand what is considered fair grounds for dismissal. And how to follow the correct procedure in order to avoid facing a grievance claim.

During a confrontation, it may be tempting to immediately dismiss an employee in the heat of the moment. However, the law states an employee cannot be dismissed without valid reasons and following an appropriate process.

Even in cases of serious misconduct, a process which allows for opportunities to respond and to provide feedback should be followed.

When dismissing an employee, the employer must follow the policies and procedures outlined in their company handbook or employment contract

What obligations do employers have to employees?

Employees who have been dismissed are entitled to a written explanation from their employer. This statement should describe why the employee has been dismissed. If asked for a written statement, the employer must provide one within 60 days of the dismissal notice being given.

If the employer does not provide a written statement in time, the employee may be eligible to submit a grievance claim outside of the 90 day limitation period.

Employers are not required to submit a written explanation to workers who have been dismissed during a trial period.

Serious misconduct

In cases of serious misconduct, an employer may be able to dismiss a worker without giving notice or making payments instead of notice. They must still have a good reason for the dismissal and follow the correct procedures to dismiss the employee. See our guide on Serious Misconduct for more information on this type of dismissal.

For advice on how to implement a dismissal policy in the workplace, contact Employsure on 0800 568 012.

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