Reasons for dismissal ― breach of enactment or some other substantial reason

By Tolley in association with Hannah Freeman at Old Square Chambers
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The following Employment Tax guidance note by Tolley in association with Hannah Freeman at Old Square Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Reasons for dismissal ― breach of enactment or some other substantial reason
  • Business reorganisation
  • Other substantial reasons
  • Substantial reasons imposed by statute
  • Dismissal as a result of breach of enactment
  • Procedural fairness
  • TUPE

Note: all case references in this guidance note are subscription sensitive.

Even if the reason for dismissal does not fall within one of the specific potentially fair reasons set out in ERA 1996, s 98(2), the dismissal may still be fair if the reason is shown to have been some other substantial reason of a kind such as to justify the dismissal of an employee holding the position which the employee held.

ERA 1996, s 98(1)(b)

Substantial means ‘more than whimsical or capricious’.

Harper v NCB [1980] IRLR 260

As with other potentially fair reasons for dismissal, it will still be necessary for the tribunal to be satisfied that dismissal was, in all the circumstances, within the range of reasonable responses of a reasonable employer and that a fair procedure had been followed by the employer.

Many cases where the reason for dismissal has been held to have been ‘some other substantial reason’ are related to action taken by an employer to reorganise its business. In certain cases, statute dictates that a reason for dismissal is to be treated as some other substantial reason.

Business reorganisation

In suitable circumstances, a reorganisation of an employer’s business leading to changes in job duties or other terms and conditions may be some other substantial reason such as would justify dismissal. Dismissal in such cases typically arises because the employee refuses to accept the proposed changes and as a result is either expressly dismissed or resigns and claims constructive dismissal. In such cases, the principles which generally apply are:

The business’ survival need not depend on the reorganisation, but it must

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