Last updated on January 9th, 2018 at 04:07 pm
Dismissing one of your staff members is one of the hardest things that you can do as a employer. It can be both procedurally and emotionally complex for the person being dismissed and the manager doing the dismissing. It can also unsettle the general working environment.
However, if you make a mistake in the dismissal process the whole issue can be compounded as you may face appeals or even an unwanted employment tribunal which can demoralize managers and staff and leave a cloud hanging over the company for several months as the case is prepared.
Notwithstanding the fact that there will be significant lost management time as your HR teams and line managers engage with the inevitable bureaucracy of the tribunal process. And of course, you could face a significant financial payout if an employee successfully brings an unfair dismissal claim against you.
Despite knowing how important it is to dismiss people correctly, many employers tend to make the same mistakes during the dismissal process. The sad thing is that these mistakes are unnecessary and easily avoidable – and I have therefore drawn your attention to these top 9 mistakes which I have observed managers making when dismissing staff.
9 Most Common Dismissal Mistakes
1.Failing to use a staged warning process before dismissing staff. Its only in extreme circumstances that an employee may be summarily dismissed, and in most circumstances, there will need to be staged warning process.
2.Not allowing an employee to be accompanied at a disciplinary hearing. Employees are entitled to be accompanied by a union representative or a fellow worker and the employer should inform the employee of this right to accompaniment
3.Not informing an employee of their right to appeal against any disciplinary action that is taken. Employees have a right to appeal against disciplinary action and should inform them of this and make your them aware of your grievance and appeals procedure.
4. Not documenting the entire disciplinary process.
5. Failing to spell out the allegations to the employee correctly. Take the time to fully investigate and analyze the problem. Put them in a list and explain them to the employee in an itemized fashion, for example, “There are four allegations of misconduct/under performance and the first one is…”
6.Using the same person to handle the entire disciplinary process. Its important that a different person carried out the investigation, disciplinary hearing and appeal to increase impartiality and fairness.
7.Not paying attention to medical reports. Employers must listen to medical recommendations and act on them.
8.Disregarding evidence that points to the employees innocence and dwelling on incriminating evidence.
9.Not seeking an external opinion for dismissing staff. Before pushing the final button and dismissing staff you should at least try and seek advice from an employment Solicitor who can advise you on the legal position and the risks associated with the dismissal. This will help you to see if you have overlooked anything important and give you the chance to correct the situation before making what could be an unfair dismissal.