fThe most common mistakes employers make when dismissing people (in no particular order) are:-

  • Inconsistency of decisions  – dismissing for something that the last person who did it just had a warning for  this is unfair. If you want to distinguish between cases you have to be able to justify it on reasonable grounds such as the length of service and previous good record of the employee given the warning compared to the one that was sacked.


  • Failure to investigate properly  an employer has to have a reasonable belief based on the evidence before them that an employee is guilty of misconduct. Even if an employee denies something outright if you have reasonable grounds to believe they were involved or did do something  you don’t need cast iron proof that they did, unlike criminal law, but you do need to have conducted a reasonable investigation.


  • Dismissing someone for poor attendance record when they have a medical condition such as depression which could qualify as a disability under the disability discrimination legislation (Equality Act). The employee then claims not enough was done to accommodate their medical position.


  • Pre-preparing letters of dismissal and presenting them to the employee at the end of the meeting  this makes your decision look pre-judged and will result in the dismissal being unfair. You must keep an open mind  there could be a reasonable explanation behind the situation as it appears to you.


  • Decision-makers taking account of matters which are not discussed in the disciplinary hearing ie:- the employee doesn’t get a chance to address this evidence and so the dismissal is unfair.


  • Not having an appeal stage or the appeal decision-maker getting involved in the case when the original decision to dismiss is made so that they are not impartial which is unfair.


  • Rushing eg:- walking someone into your room, ambushing them with an allegation, deciding they are in the wrong and dismissing them. Notice of a disciplinary hearing should be given at least 24 hours before the meeting and it often helps to think overnight before coming to a conclusion and confirming dismissal, even if you have known all along that is where you are heading  that does mean it could take at least 72 hours  to follow this stage of the procedure but it is worth investing the time upfront to protect you against criticism at a later stage.


  • Not giving the employee the opportunity to be accompanied by a companion – failure to do this can result in a Tribunal award of up to 900