Dismissing employees can be problematic. You don’t want to face legal wrangling. But, you also want to ensure that your business is thriving. Some employees are simply not up to the task. You may not have the finances in place to keep staff in work. Whatever your reasons, you need to tread carefully when it comes to matters of dismissing an employee. If you don’t then you may find that your former employee feels that they have no alternative but to contact a Pittsburgh employment lawyer or their local legal advisor.
There are protocols that you must follow when dismissing employees. This can be tricky to master and get right. But, it can be done with minimum fuss.
If an employee is not fulfilling their role, in the way that they should be, you may have grounds for dismissal. But, you need to make sure that you keep a log of events as and when they happen. If you do not, you could be dismissing the employee unfairly.
You need to assess their overall conduct. Is there timekeeping shoddy? Do they act in an unprofessional manner? Are they involved in illegal activity? All of these reasons are grounds for dismissal. But, you cannot make wild assumptions. You need to ensure that you have proof before you frog march an employee into your office.
Employment Law and Following Procedure
Under employment law, you can terminate an employee’s contract if you follow a fair procedure.
There are five grounds on which you can fire an employee:
- Incapability to do the job
- Breach of contract
- Other substantial reasons (however, a restructure is not grounds for dismissal)
Should your employee fall into these categories, you can justifiably terminate their employment. This can be done whether you have a dismissal policy in place or not.
However, you cannot go around yelling “you’re fired” left, right and centre. You need to ensure that you investigate all matters accordingly. You will need to provide warnings; these can be written and verbal. You should always have another trusted member of staff sitting in on meetings to take notes. Ideally, this would be an HR representative. But, if you don’t have a fully formed human resources team, it may be wise to seek counsel from your management team.
You must always conduct a disciplinary hearing thus allowing your employee to have their say. You may decide that you don’t want to dismiss their contract upon completion of the hearing. However, you may want to proceed with the termination of the contract. Of course, your employee has the right to representation. With this in mind, you may also have a union member sitting in on your meeting too.
First Time Problems or Repeat Offender?
If an employee in question usually has a sterling record, you need to give them a chance to perform better. You must never sack a first-time offender if there is room for training and development. Performance issues can always be reviewed, and tutelage can be given to ensure they are back on track.
Repeat offenders can be dismissed more easily. If you have given opportunities for growth, but they refuse to use these pointers, this is classed as misconduct. Make sure that you have an audit of training as proof.
Some employees may be embroiled in fraud, stealing and fighting. If this is the case, you can fire them as part of gross misconduct.