As there are so many different forms of dismissal, it is difficult to comply with all of the necessary rules in a single policy. Some forms of dismissal, for example, redundancy, clearly call for a separate procedure and policy. The requirements of a dismissal policy will vary depending on what other policies you have in place.
When developing a policy relating to dismissal, it is essential that you consult the current ACAS guidance on the correct procedures to follow. Failure to follow the ACAS code in itself will not give rise to any liability on the part of your company but it could mean that compensation is increased by up to 25% and the dismissal is unfair.
Before making a decision about dismissal a full investigation should be undertaken. It is important that the investigation is sufficient to allow the manager to have a reasonable belief that the employee did do what is alleged.
It is important that the employee concerned is given the opportunity to attend an investigatory meeting for the purpose of putting forward any information they have in defence of the allegations against them. Following the investigatory meeting, it may be appropriate to carry out further enquiries to confirm or review information provided by the employee concerned. It is also important that the organisation is seen to be operating fairly. Hence, it is important to investigate whether there are other employees who have committed a similar offence in the past, and to determine whether they were dismissed.
Before a decision to dismiss can be reached it is important to first work through a warning process as part of a disciplinary procedure:
- Stage 1 – First Written Warning
- Stage 2 – Final Written Warning
- Stage 3 – Dismissal or action short of dismissal
In a situation of alleged gross misconduct it is usual (but not essential) to suspend the employee whilst investigations take place. The employee should be suspended on full pay and all benefits associated with the employee’s role continue during the period of suspension. If a decision is taken to suspend an employee pending an investigation into gross misconduct the employee should be asked to attend a meeting with their manager.
Once a decision to dismiss has been made (following any warnings during a disciplinary procedure – see How to manage a disciplinary procedure) this should be communicated in writing to the employee. Employees may be entitled to request, and be given, within 14 days of the request, a written statement giving particulars of the reasons for dismissal if the employee who has been dismissed has sufficient service to bring an unfair dismissal claim.
When communicating with an employee over their dismissal you should informed him/her that s/he has the right to appeal against dismissal (or a final warning if this has been imposed). This should be confirmed in writing.
aspire cambridge can support you’re business through staff dismissals; for further information contact our team of CIPD accredited HR Consultants on 01223 855441.