New dismissal rules will make it harder to sack employees

Sacking
employees could become virtually impossible under new dismissal rules that take
effect next month, according to legal experts.

Employers
will have to complete a complex 13-step procedure before they can dismiss a
worker.

The
legislation — the first statutory dismissal procedure to be introduced in the
UK — requires an employer to hold several meetings with employees, provide them
with formal written statements, and follow a strict timetable before they can
be legally sacked.

Lawyers
say the rules are so onerous that employers will be forced to avoid trying to
sack staff.

Steven
Lorber, employment partner
at law firm Lewis Silkin,
told The Times newspaper: “This is potentially a complete nightmare for
employers. The employee will know that if they can find any fault with the way
the employer has followed the procedure, they will be home and dry.”

David
Bishop of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “We think this will have the
biggest impact of any employment legislation introduced in the last 10 years.
By their very nature, these rules will make it much harder for employers to
dismiss staff.”

Employers
who do not satisfy each step in the procedure will immediately be judged to
have acted unfairly. In such cases, employers can be forced by an employment
tribunal to pay up to £50,000 compensation in addition to an award.

The
Department of Trade and Industry, which is introducing the rules, believes the
new procedure will encourage parties to resolve their disputes in the
workplace, cutting tribunal cases by up to one third.

But
lawyers and business groups believe the 13-step procedure will instead spark
hundreds more claims.

Companies
will be exempt from the rules when large numbers of staff are sacked, or when
the business closes unexpectedly.

Business
groups believe many employers are unaware that the new rules will take effect
from October.

 The 13-step procedure

1  Set
down in writing arguments for dismissal

2
Hand copy of statement to employee

3
Hand document over long enough in advance for employee to consider response

4
Hold a meeting with employee

5
Conduct meeting in a way that enables employee to explain their position

6
After the meeting, tell employee decision

7
Offer employee chance to appeal

8
Invite employee to further
meeting to discuss appeal

9
Employer must invite senior manager to the appeal meeting

10
Communicate final decision to employee

11
Timing of all meetings must be reasonable

12
Location of meetings must be reasonable

13
The employer must not delay unreasonably over any of these steps

By Daniel Thomas 

 

By
Daniel Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

Comments are closed.