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dismissals and dismissing staff
- hr advice for small businesses

When you're building your small business and growing your team, you choose the people who you believe are right for the job. However, no one gets it right every time....

If, after giving an employee an opportunity to improve their performance or correct misbehaviour, there is still a problem or the offence is really serious, then dismissal may be the only course of action left to take.

Whatever the cause, dismissal must follow a fair, consistent and legal process. Employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. The cap on the award for successful unfair dismissal claims currently sits at £105,707.

To assist your disciplinary and grievance process and inform any decisions of dismissal, it is important to have the correct HR policies in place in your small business. Policies that cover employee conduct and performance set out your expectations at the beginning of the employment relationship.

When these policies are drafted and communicated effectively, they’ll protect your business in the event of misconduct or poor performance that must lead to dismissal.

We can write your HR Policies and provide you with guidance and support to ensure a legally compliant dismissal process.

We provide HR support and HR advice to small businesses in Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy, Isle of Anglesey, Wrexham, Powys, Gwynedd, Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside, Cheshire, and Greater Manchester.   

what constitutes a dismissal?

How to dismiss an employee

A dismissal (sometimes referred to as a 'termination') is when an employer ends an employee’s contract, with notice, or without notice (for gross misconduct). A dismissal can happen at any time. It could be during a contract or at the end when an employer chooses not to renew it.

Dismissals can happen for any number of reasons, too. It could be an economic turndown that forces the employer to make redundancies, or the dismissal might be due to poor performance or misconduct on the part of the employee.

Employers must be fair and reasonable when deciding whether to dismiss an employee. If they aren’t, the employee may be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal, regardless of whether the reason for the dismissal was a good one.


Employers should be particularly careful where allegations of discrimination could be brought as employees do not need two years’ service to file a claim with an Employment Tribunal.

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why getting dismissals right is so important

Regardless of what type of small business you have, having the correct HR disciplinary and dismissal procedures in place and knowing how to fairly and legally dismiss employees is vital to your business and mitigating risk.

When dismissing an employee, one bad move could lead to the employee filing an unfair dismissal claim in an Employment Tribunal — which could end in a costly and stressful court case. As well as the time, sleepless nights and potentially high costs involved with defending a claim, unfair dismissals can damage your small business’s reputation if news travels that you’ve treated an employee unfairly. 

It can also have a negative effect on other employees, too. If an employee sees a colleague filing an unfair dismissal claim, doubts could creep in and they could start to look for a job elsewhere.

Dismissing staff

Dismissing employees can be a difficult and daunting thing to navigate alone, especially if you haven’t done it before. That's why we're on hand and by your side to support you from start to finish, offering HR advice and guidance every step of the way.

To ensure your dismissals are procedurally correct, we’ll get to know your small business and the reasons for your dismissal before we do anything else. We’ll advise you on the best approach before helping you to carry out the dismissal.

Dismissing an employee that has been on long-term sick leave can be challenging for some small businesses. While you may be sympathetic, there are times when a person’s health can seriously affect their ability to work, which makes it difficult to manage your business. In this situation, we can clarify the process, explaining the medical guidance and occupational health reports.

If you are dreading the difficult conversations that can arise as a result of this process, we can be there to support you. Or even have the conversation for you. This gives you peace of mind that it will be done compassionately, professionally and safely for you and your business.

If you need help with a potential dismissal in your small business, contact our expert team of HR professionals today.

how we can help you!

hr services for small businesses

Jacqui Kennedy

Services Director - MLR Networks

"Really enjoyed the session! I think for the folk in the room the message was pitched just right. Your honesty about your own experience and fears was also great - if they were in any doubt they are not alone!"

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