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Blog  »  January 2016  »  When the love is gone! What happens when the employment relationship breaks down? - Blog
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Jan 16

Posted by
Laura Murphy

When the love is gone! What happens when the employment relationship breaks down?

February might be the month of love, but what happens when the love ends in an employment relationship. How do you end that relationship?

The employment relationship can breakdown for a number of reasons and sometimes employers feel like they are left with no alternative but to terminate the employment.

Employee dismissal can be a dangerous area and employers can leave themselves at risk of an unfair dismissals claim. In 2014 the majority of all Employment Appeals Tribunal cases were unfair dismissal claims with the total awarded by the EAT reaching almost €5,000,000.

The key to avoiding such claims, particularly for small employers, is to take a step back from the emotion and aim to take a rational approach.

Furthermore, a second vital component of any dismissal case will be the Disciplinary Procedure. A disciplinary procedure sets out the process that should be followed in an employee dismissal. Without a disciplinary procedure in place it will be near impossible for an employer to defend any unfair dismissal claims against them. 

It’s too late to implement a disciplinary procedure once there is an issue. Employers should protect themselves and put one in place immediately, ensuring that everyone in the organisation is familiar with it.

Some key components of any Disciplinary Procedure will include:

  • Lists of unacceptable behaviours: let employees know what is acceptable.
  • Early informal intervention: never procrastinate; address issues as soon as they appear.
  • A fair process: a tribunal will look to see if a process has been applied.
  • Opportunity to Appeal: employees should always be given the opportunity to appeal any decision.

No matter how gross the crime, caution should always be applied when dismissing an employee. For that reason it is always advisable to seek external assistance.

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Posted in Company handbook, Dismissals