Issues arising on termination—law firms
Issues arising on termination—law firms

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

  • Issues arising on termination—law firms
  • Distinguishing dismissal from other forms of termination
  • Written statement of reasons for dismissal
  • Dismissing a senior executive
  • Constructive dismissal
  • Contractual notice
  • Statutory minimum notice
  • Payment in lieu of notice (PILON)
  • Waiver of notice
  • Liquidated damages, repayment clauses and penalties
  • more

A contract of employment can end in various ways, including dismissal, resignation and frustration. Unless the contract of employment specifically states otherwise, termination need not be in effected in writing, and can, for example, be done orally.

If an employer wishes to dismiss an employee lawfully, the dismissal must not be unfair nor breach the employee's contract of employment. Having taken the decision to dismiss, there are further decisions for the employer, eg whether or not to:

  1. give notice

  2. pay the employee in lieu of notice, and/or

  3. put the employee on garden leave

Distinguishing dismissal from other forms of termination

Not all terminations amount to a dismissal. Termination can also occur:

  1. by resignation (although sometimes resignations will occur in circumstances that amount to a constructive dismissal)

  2. by mutual consent, or

  3. by operation of law

Tribunals are reluctant to find that there has been termination by mutual consent. Termination by operation of law is rare; its most common form is frustration of the contract. The expiry of a fixed-term contract without it being renewed is not a dismissal at common law, but is deemed a dismissal for statutory purposes.

For more information, see Practice Note: Distinguishing dismissal from other forms of termination.

Written statement of reasons for dismissal

An employee starting fresh employment on or after 6 April 2012 becomes entitled to request

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