His message follows the case of a crop worker who was spotted by a passer-by “watering the crops” rather than using a nearby portable toilet. The passer-by complained to the farm managers and reports said the worker had been ‘sacked with immediate effect’.
“The truth though is that well-worn phrase doesn’t actually add up as instant dismissal should never be seen as an option.
“If an employee has acted irresponsibly or caused an incident that cannot be ignored, then on the face of it, sacking them there and then may seem like a quick and easy resolution. But instant dismissal is never a good idea even if the sacking is for an obviously fair reason.
“Employers must always follow a fair and reasonable procedure in all disciplinary cases, because otherwise an employment tribunal could find in your employee’s favour, and you could face a fine of up to £5,000 for not following the rules.
“Employees who have only been with you for a short time who don’t ordinarily have a right to claim unfair dismissal may be able to bring a claim against you too if you sack them on the spot.”
John said employers needed to take care when dealing with dismissals and should follow the agreed procedures step by step.
“Instant dismissal puts an employer in a potentially vulnerable situation that could end up being extremely costly, so it’s important you don’t allow yourself to be caught out.
“Our Alpha experts can help with all aspects of the disciplinary process, and we specialise is helping employers work their way through the minefield of employment law avoiding the most common pitfalls on the way.”
Alpha is a business protection scheme created by Martin-Kaye that offers employment law advice and human resources support to UK companies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.