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Employment Law

Terminating Employment & Settlement Agreements

Terminating the employment of an employee or group of employees is a difficult decision but sometimes it can’t be avoided. Our employment solicitors will guide you through the process to minimise the risk of unfair or wrongful dismissal claims.

Making sure your process is fair and legally compliant can be an important part of any dismissal or redundancy procedure. Our employment solicitors can help you to protect your business and ensure your employees are treated fairly.

What Should I Consider If I Need To Dismiss An Employee?

If you’re thinking about dismissing an employee, you’ll need to be clear on why you want to dismiss them and how long they’ve worked for you.

In most cases, employees who’ve worked for you for less than two years don’t have the right to bring unfair dismissal claims against you, so it’s often easier to let them go. However, they can bring an unfair dismissal claim if you dismiss them because they’re a whistleblower or if they’re pregnant.

If the employee has worked for you for two years or more, you can only dismiss them fairly for the following reasons:

  • Conduct (behaviour)
  • Capability (inability to do their job, which could be due to underperformance or ill health)
  • Redundancy
  • Continuing to employ the person would mean you are breaking the law (if they no longer have the right to work in the UK)
  • Some other substantial reason (SOSR).

You should also consider if there are any grounds for an employee to bring other types of claims against you. These could include, discrimination claims, breach of contract or holiday pay.

Getting a dismissal wrong can cost time, money and damage your reputation. It’s important to get legal advice at an early stage.

How Can I Avoid Unfair Or Wrongful Dismissal Claims?

Following the correct legal process will help you reduce the risk of unfair or wrongful dismissal claims. The process you follow will depend on the reason for dismissal and the number of employees you’re dismissing.

You can help prevent an unfair dismissal claim by:

  • Getting legal advice as soon as possible if you need to dismiss an employee
  • Following your own policies and procedures
  • Following the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
  • Making sure your dismissal follows any other employment law regulations.

Our employment lawyers advise businesses of all sizes about both individual and collective dismissals. We can help put your organisation in the best possible place to reduce the risk of expensive and time-consuming litigation.

Call our lawyers on 0808 271 2602 or contact us online today.

What Is A Settlement Agreement?

A settlement agreement is a written agreement where an employee accepts financial compensation in return for agreeing not to bring any claims against you. It’s only valid if the employee receives legal advice on the agreement.

You can use a settlement agreement if you don’t want to go through a full dismissal process, or you want to avoid possible risks for dismissing someone. You may, for example, not want to go through a formal performance management process before dismissing on capability grounds.

Settlement agreements are also helpful if you’re making any ‘ex gratia’ payments to your employees above your contractual obligations. You can ask employees to sign an agreement when you dismiss them to avoid the risk of a claim later on.

Our team has advised on thousands of settlement agreements. We can help you write an agreement, check an existing one and negotiate the terms of an agreement.

How Can Irwin Mitchell Help?

Our employment lawyers have experience in advising on both individual and collective dismissals. We give practical, commercially-focussed advice to make sure you achieve your business goals while managing your legal risk.

We don’t only offer advice on processes and policies. We can also help you draft letters and settlement agreements, prepare scripts for meetings with employees and carry out negotiations.

Our team also advise employees who are facing a dismissal, so we know the arguments employees and their lawyers may raise.

Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

No matter how big your or small your business is, we can help you dismiss staff with minimal legal risk. Our employment solicitors understand that no two dismissals are the same so we’ll give you advice based on your attitude to risk, circumstances and company policies.

Our qualified lawyers are based across the UK so no matter where you are we can help. We’ll give you transparent fees to suit your budget and update you as we go so there are no surprises.

Contact our team today to discuss your situation on 0808 271 2602 or fill out our enquiry form and we’ll set up a meeting.

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