Dismissal in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Abernethy v Mott, Hay and Anderson
    • Court of Appeal
    • 06 Feb 1974

    A reason for the dismissal of an employee is a set of facts known to the employer, or it may be of beliefs held by him, which cause him to dismiss the employee. He may knowingly give a reason different from the real reason out of kindness or because he might have difficulty in proving the facts that actually led him to dismiss; or he may describe his reasons wrongly through some mistake of language or of law.

  • Eastwood v Magnox Electric Plc
    • House of Lords
    • 15 Jul 2004

    An employee's remedy for unfair dismissal, whether actual or constructive, is the remedy provided by statute. If before his dismissal, whether actual or constructive, an employee has acquired a cause of action at law, for breach of contract or otherwise, that cause of action remains unimpaired by his subsequent unfair dismissal and the statutory rights flowing therefrom. By definition, in law such a cause of action exists independently of the dismissal.

    Exceptionally, financial loss may flow directly from the employer's failure to act fairly when taking steps leading to dismissal. Another instance is cases such as those now before the House, when an employee suffers financial loss from psychiatric or other illness caused by his pre-dismissal unfair treatment. In such cases the employee has a common law cause of action which precedes, and is independent of, his subsequent dismissal.

  • Orr v Milton Keynes Council
    • Court of Appeal
    • 01 Feb 2011

    (6) In doing the exercise set out at (5), the ET must consider, by the objective standards of the hypothetical reasonable employer, rather than by reference to its own subjective views, whether the employer has acted within a "band or range of reasonable responses" to the particular misconduct found of the particular employee.

  • Laws v London Chronicle (Indicator Newspapers) Ltd
    • Court of Appeal
    • 22 Abr 1959

    To my mind, the proper conclusion to be drawn from the passages I have cited and the cases to which we have been referred is that, since a contract of service is but an example of contracts in general, so that the general law of contract will be applicable, it follows that the question must be - if summary dismissal is claimed to be justifiable - whether the conduct complained of is such as to show the servant to have disregarded the essential conditions of the contract of service.

  • Polkey v A. E. Dayton Services Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 19 Nov 1987

    Thus, in the case of incapacity, the employer will normally not act reasonably unless he gives the employee fair warning and an opportunity to mend his ways and show that he can do the job; in the case of misconduct, the employer will normally not act reasonably unless he investigates the complaint of misconduct fully and fairly and hears whatever the employee wishes to say in his defence or in explanation or mitigation; in the case of redundancy, the employer will normally not act reasonably unless he warns and consults any employees affected or their representative, adopts a fair basis on which to select for redundancy and takes such steps as may be reasonable to avoid or minimise redundancy by redeployment within his own organisation.

  • Pepper v Webb
    • Court of Appeal
    • 20 Feb 1969

    — something done by the employee which impliedly or expressly is a repudiation of the fundamental terms of the contract; and in my Judgment if ever there was such a repudiation this is it. He is to look after the garden and he is to look after the greenhouse. If he does not care a hoot about either then he is repudiating his contract. But this, according to his employer, and I think rightly on the evidence, was the last straw. He had been acting in a very unsatisfactory way ever since April.

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Books & Journal Articles
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Constructive Dismissal
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    Two constructive dismissal cases have been decided since our last newsletter which make for interesting reading. The first case serves as a reminder of how not to approach making changes to terms a...
  • Reinstatement Following Dismissal
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    In McBride v Scottish Police Authority [2016] UKSC 27, the Supreme Court considered whether an Employment Tribunal had been wrong to order the reinstatement of an employee on restricted duties. ...
  • Employment News: unfair dismissal
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    Looking back – limited appeal investigation not unfair - It was not unfair for an employer to place limits on a disciplinary appeal investigation where the employee's representative had ...
  • Resignation and Constructive Dismissal
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    In Chindove v William Morrisons Supermarket Plc UKEAT/0201/13/BA, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether an employee had lost the right to claim constructive dismissal because he h...
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