• Suzanne McMinn
  • 12 March 2012

No fault dismissals

Recent news articles have built on the recommendations put together by Adrian Beecroft last year for the proposals of no fault dismissals. The recommendations, in a nut shell, mean that the “smallest organisations” can dismiss employees without the risk of repercussions through Employment Tribunal claims. This does of course exclude any claims on the grounds of discrimination which will still be protected in the same way.

There will of course be wide and varied opinion as to whether this is the right way to go, but in my view employees should have the basic right to be protected on the grounds of their employment. They should be treated fairly and if they are not pulling their weight at work they should be managed appropriately; in line with legislation and consistent in its approach. This way it’s fair to the employee; they know what is expected and what they need to do to turn things around.

I hear the argument from small business - that they can’t manage their employees for fear of being sued, but if employees are not working then you should be managing them – instant dismissal is not the answer for me. The fear of being sued should be enough to make sure that any business is fair in its approach to dealing with employee issues.

The suggestions put forward by Beecroft and mirrored by George Osborne recently will give some organisations the caveat that they need to act disreputably and dismiss without cause knowing that there will be no recourse for them. This is a major step backwards in employment legislation in my view.  The argument that smaller organisations cannot afford to have their own HR support or enlist the services of consultants is not an option; ACAS and other such organisations provide free advice which will support most organisations in dealing with the basic employment issues that need addressing.

What we need is a measured approach, allowing small businesses to prosper, but supported by their employees who are not in fear of being sacked. Organisations should manage employees, it’s not as onerous a task as people think; it just requires a consistent fair approach and managers to manage the situation rather than look for a quick way out!