Employment Law

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Employment Law

Employment Law


Unfair dismissal in the employment law of the UK refers to the termination of the employment of a worker for a reason that is not permitted under statute. This area of law is statutory and is superimposed on the common law of employment. An employee is 'dismissed' if the employment is terminated without notice or where a fixed term contract expires without notice. There are 'constructive' dismissals, where the employee terminates because of the employer's conduct. As to 'unfair', the law deems a dismissal as a result of trade union membership or activity or non-membership of a trade union as unfair. Pregnancy is deemed to be an unfair reason. Making a person redundant can be unfair if the employee was wrongly selected. The general rule as to fairness depends upon two factors: (1) whether the reason for dismissal related to the employee's capability, qualification or conduct or was that the employee was redundant or that his continued employment would itself be a breach of the law or whether there was some other substantial reason of a kind such as to justify dismissal; and (2) whether having regard to the reason shown, the employer acted reasonably or unreasonably in the circumstances in treating that reason as sufficient reason for dismissal. The employer must show the reason for the dismissal. There is no burden of proof either way in relation to the proof of the reasonableness of the dismissal. The test applied is the test of the reasonable employer. This paper in this connection will analyze two different cases regarding employee dismissal and will determine the legal implications in the cases.

Case 1 Background and Synopsis

Alison and Bernard are employed as full-time stores persons in the warehouse in which the finished goods are stored. Both are recognised as very competent employees and have no previous disciplinary record. In early August 2011 the company discovered stock discrepancies. As a result of this the company's security officer was asked on the 15th August to carry out an investigation into the possible cause. The security officer reported that, in his view, either Alison or Bernard, or both of them, had been pilfering stock, his report stated that he had not seen either member of staff, or any others, acting suspiciously. However he gave the following reasons for forming this opinion were 1) the fact that the two employees were often left alone in the warehouse for long periods and 2) he had had an anonymous tip-off that both Alison and Bernard had recently purchased new cars. The company took a disciplinary action and called for a meeting; however, after both of them denied the allegations levelled against them and company fails to recover any clear explanation of stock discrepancies, the company sent a letter of dismissal from services to both of them and filed criminal charges against them in the police.

They both re-appeal but the company turned down their appeal saying that it's a police case now and they will ...
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