Dismissing fairly for conduct reasons
Dismissing fairly for conduct reasons

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dismissing fairly for conduct reasons
  • Conduct management
  • Procedure—initial considerations
  • Procedure—investigation
  • Procedure—preparing for the disciplinary hearing
  • Procedure—the disciplinary hearing
  • Procedure—sound recordings of hearings and notes taken
  • Procedure—the decision
  • Procedure—appeals
  • Procedure—employees' obligations

If an employee brings a claim of unfair dismissal, the burden is on the employer to prove that it had a fair reason for dismissal. One of the potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee is conduct (see Practice Notes: Reason for dismissal—conduct and Reason for dismissal—general—Potentially fair reasons). However, in order to dismiss fairly, employers must also follow a fair procedure which allows employees sufficient opportunity to improve. Ultimately it must be shown that dismissal is a fair sanction to impose.

Conduct management

For details of the aims of conduct management, how to investigate, potential reasons for misconduct and disciplinary procedures, see Practice Note: Managing conduct.

Procedure—initial considerations

Protection from unfair dismissal

An important factor in how an employee who has committed an act of misconduct is dealt with will be whether he qualifies to bring a claim of unfair dismissal. The principal determinant of this is length of service; those starting employment on or after 6 April 2012 need two years of continuous employment, and those whose employment commenced before that date need one year. For further information, see Practice Notes: Entitlement to claim unfair dismissal and Qualifying period for unfair dismissal.

An employer could dismiss an employee for misconduct without going through any particular procedure if:

  1. the employee does not qualify for protection from unfair dismissal, and