Termination of Employment Contract and Unfair - Jonathan Lea Network


As an employer you are entitled to terminate an employee’s contract if they have committed an act of gross misconduct or have failed to follow a process, for example, failure to act on feedback of subsequent disciplinary warnings.  Aside from conduct, other potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee are performance, redundancy, contravention of a statutory restriction; or “some other substantial reason” (a reason other than those listed here and which is potentially fair in the circumstances).

Employment law dictates that you must ‘act reasonably’ when dismissing an employee, failure to conduct a dismissal in a fair and reasonable manner could result in a tribunal claim against your business.

Making sure your process is fair and legally compliant is an important part of any dismissal or redundancy procedure. Our employment solicitors can help you to protect your business and ensure your employees are treated fairly.

To ensure your business is covered, please below some key steps you can take:

  • Having a valid reason for the dismissal and having sufficient evidence to support this, conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the claim or misconduct before making the final decision
  • Ensuring your disciplinary and dismissal procedures are published to your employees and followed correctly when carrying out a dismissal
  • Keeping the employees informed throughout the process and keeping records for your own evidence e.g. copies of letters sent to the employee outlining the reasons and terms of the dismissal and accurate minutes of any meetings
  • Giving the employee a chance to improve (if it is a first offence and not sufficiently serious to constitute gross misconduct)
  • Giving the employee a chance to appeal
  • Ensuring the correct notice period is given as stipulated in the original contract, or paying them in lieu of this notice period (does not apply for gross misconduct)

We can help your business through every stage of the dismissal and contract termination process. From advising on whether this is the right step for your business to be taking through to drafting termination of employment contract letters, we help you navigate the process to ensure you get the outcome you want with unnecessary risks minimised.

We have experience of representing businesses at employment tribunals and can help you understand all of the options available to your business where tribunals are concerned.  We are prepared to help you represent your business if you wish to fight the claim, or we can assist with negotiations to reach an early resolution out of court.

We can advise on termination of employment for employers and whether alternatives should be explored further before making an employee redundant or seeking to terminate a contract.

We can advise on any potential breach of company contracts and procedures, to better assess whether a termination of contract is necessary.

We will work closely with you and your business to ensure you are legally compliant where seeking to execute a redundancy or dismissal.

We can assist you in resolving workplace disputes.


Termination of Employment

Losing your job can be difficult and emotional, often with consequences for you and your family. Employers can only dismiss an employee (where a work contract is ended by the employer, rather than the employee) if they have a fair reason to do so.

There are five main reasons for dismissal:

  • Conduct – if you have broken the terms of your employment, for example continually missing work, poor discipline or theft from your employer
  • Capability – if you cannot do your job properly, for example you can’t keep up with changes to technology or you don’t work well with members of your team
  • Redundancy – when there is not enough work for you to do at the company
  • Continuing to employ you would break the law – for example if you are a driver and you lose your driving licence or you don’t have the right to work in the UK
  • Some other substantial reason (SORS) – this applies if your employer has an overwhelming reason to dismiss you, such as imprisonment or if it isn’t possible to employ you due to financial, technical or organisational reason.

We provide guidance on the legal rights and obligations of employees, including redundancy, dismissal, and settlement agreements. We also assist with negotiating exit packages and pursuing claims for unfair dismissal or discrimination.

  • If your employment has been terminated, it’s possible your employer has acted incorrectly or the settlement agreement they have proposed is heavily biased in their favour.
  • It is essential that you have expert legal advice to see if your employer has followed procedures properly and to defend your position.
  • Our experienced, knowledgeable employment solicitors will assess your situation calmly, act decisively and seek a just and fair outcome.

What is termination of employment?

Termination of employment is the ending of an employment relationship between an employer and an employee. This can occur through mutual agreement, retirement, resignation, or dismissal.

Losing your job is invariably stressful, and it can be difficult to stay calm and analyse what has just happened. Whatever the reason for your dismissal, if your employer has acted incorrectly you could be able to claim against them. If you and your employer have mutually decided to end your employment with a settlement agreement, then you’ll want to be sure you have secured the best possible package.


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