An employment lawyer has gained a cult business following after suggesting on his blog that the unfair dismissal law should be scrapped.
Mark Ellis, a solicitor at business consultancy Ellis Whittam, said the law benefited lawyers and staff at the expense of the UK economy.
“Are the feelings and the personal hardship suffered by an individual employee more important than the success and happiness of UK plc?” he posted earlier this month.
There were 41,832 unfair dismissal claims in 2005-06, according to the Employment Tribunal Service. But Ellis told Personnel Today that if organisations were able to sack people they didn’t like, productivity would soar, and there would be more work and money for everyone.
“If an employer doesn’t like someone – as long as it is not a case of discrimination – then why should they have to go through a six-month procedure to tick the right boxes?” he said.
An increasing number of “litigious employees” and no-win, no-fee lawyers were taking advantage of employment laws, he added.
Employers leapt to agree, and there was even a comment – albeit non-committal – from Conservative leader David Cameron’s office.
And Peter Schofield, director of legal and employment affairs at manufacturers’ body the EEF, told Personnel Today: “There is a legal regulation for almost every detail of the employment relationship.”
However, Schofield added that scrapping the unfair dismissal law was a step too far.
“I have 75 staff, and spend half my time dealing with ridiculous employment law procedures with a minority of staff that don’t give a damn! If I could just sack the dead wood, I’d have more time to spend growing the business.”
“We have just lost a tribunal claim because we did not follow the right procedures before we sacked an employee who had taken 73 days off work in the past 12 months! He still managed to play football every weekend. How can this be right? It is a nonsense.”
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