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Termination of an Employment Contract

An employment contract can be ‘terminated’ by either the employee through resignation or the employer through dismissal.

Despite media portrayal, yelling ‘you’re fired’ Alan Sugar style across a board room full of people is not an acceptable way to dismiss an employee.

Here are some of the common mistakes employers make when terminating an employee’s contract:

Failure to:

  • Properly document the issues which led to the employees termination along with any warnings which were issued.

  • Hold the meeting in private. An employee should not be fired in full view of all their colleagues.

  • Remain calm during the termination meeting, getting into an argument with the employee is only likely to aggravate the situation for all parties.

  • Avoid the element of surprise. Make sure the employee isn’t blindsided by your decision to end their employment. Ensure they’ve been given opportunities to address their behaviour or performance issues through performance evaluations, unless of course their actions amount to gross misconduct.

  • Provide a termination letter documenting the reason behind the employee’s dismissal.

Under UK employment law, when you dismiss an employee you must do it fairly. This means having a valid reason for doing so and following a fair and reasonable procedure in line with the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employer can dismiss an employee fairly due to their:

  • Conduct

When the employee has acted in a manner which is inappropriate or unacceptable.

  • Capability

When the employee is not carrying out their work to the standard expected or does not have the right qualifications for the role.

  • Redundancy

When the role is no longer required.

  • A Legal Reason

When employee can no longer legally carry out their role, for example a delivery driver who’s banned from driving.

  • Some Other Substantial Reason

A fixed term contract coming to an end, for example.

It’s important to remember that even if you have a fair reason for dismissal, failure to act reasonably during the dismissal process can render the dismissal unfair.

📢If you need advice, contact one of our team on 01935411191 or email for a free initial consultation phone call. 📢


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