Employment Tax

Reasons for dismissal ― generally

Produced by Tolley in association with Hannah Freeman at Old Square Chambers
  • 01 Nov 2021 12:41

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

  • Reasons for dismissal ― generally
  • Automatically unfair reasons
  • Potentially fair reasons
  • Written statements for reason of dismissal
  • Entitlement
  • What must be provided

Reasons for dismissal ― generally

Once it is established that a claimant has the right to bring an unfair dismissal claim ― in other words that he was an employee, he was dismissed, his claim was presented in time and he has the requisite continuous employment ― it will generally be for the employer to show:

  1. what the reason or, if there was more than one, the principal reason was for dismissing the employee

  2. that it was a potentially fair reason for dismissal

An employment tribunal will investigate the real reason for dismissal. The fact that the employer told the employee that the reason for their dismissal was, for example, redundancy, will not preclude a tribunal from finding that, on the evidence before it, the real reason for dismissal was something different.

An employment tribunal will investigate the real reason for dismissal. The fact that the employer told the employee that the reason for their dismissal was, for example, redundancy, will not preclude a tribunal from finding that, on the evidence before it, the real reason for dismissal was something different.

If there is a dispute over the reason for dismissal, the employer bears the burden of proving which of the competing reasons was the principal reason for dismissal. In establishing what the reason for dismissal was, the employer can only rely upon facts that were known to them at the time of the dismissal and not matters that may have come to light later (although these may be relevant to the issue of compensation).

If a claimant seeks to put forward a different and inadmissible reason for dismissal, they must produce some evidence in support of his case. The claimant does not bear the burden of proving the reason put forward, but there must be some evidence before the tribunal in support of the assertion.

If the employer is unable to satisfy the tribunal that the reason for dismissal was potentially fair, the dismissal will be unfair.

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