employees could become virtually impossible under new dismissal rules that take
effect next month, according to legal experts.
will have to complete a complex 13-step procedure before they can dismiss a
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.
say the rules are so onerous that employers will be forced to avoid trying to
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.”
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
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.
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.
lawyers and business groups believe the 13-step procedure will instead spark
hundreds more claims.
will be exempt from the rules when large numbers of staff are sacked, or when
the business closes unexpectedly.
groups believe many employers are unaware that the new rules will take effect
The 13-step procedure
down in writing arguments for dismissal
Hand copy of statement to employee
Hand document over long enough in advance for employee to consider response
Hold a meeting with employee
Conduct meeting in a way that enables employee to explain their position
After the meeting, tell employee decision
Offer employee chance to appeal
Invite employee to further
meeting to discuss appeal
Employer must invite senior manager to the appeal meeting
Communicate final decision to employee
Timing of all meetings must be reasonable
Location of meetings must be reasonable
The employer must not delay unreasonably over any of these steps