Are only unlawful dismissals fair?


In most cases, the fairest way to dismiss an employee is to dismiss them unfairly under UK law. For a dismissal to be fair under UK law, it has to be for a permitted reason and a specific procedure should be followed.


The law presupposes that the outcome is not decided and that an employer will implement the procedure in order to help it reach an outcome. If an employer has not reached an outcome, therefore, the lawful procedure can be a fair one.


Where businesses have reached a decision, however, implementing the procedure is box ticking and artificial. Both the employer and employee embark on a pretence when both know the outcome. This fuels bad feeling and mistrust and is perceived to be disingenuous and unfair…all in an attempt to make the dismissal legally fair.


As always it is a balance. The significant legal risk may be reduced in practice by maintaining dignity and respect whilst the effort to reduce the legal risk may increase a risk of a claim in practice.

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