Dismissals, Grievances & Settlement Agreements

Solicitors in Essex & London


Effectively managing a dismissal or grievance can be far from straightforward and can take up considerable management time. These types of matters should be dealt with in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice, and our employment solicitors in Essex and London have a depth of experience guiding employers through the disciplinary and grievance minefield, minimising the risks of a claim for unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal.

In some circumstances, it may be appropriate to offer a settlement agreement at the outset of a dismissal or grievance process. These agreements are commonly used as a method to bring an end to the employment relationship; it is a record in writing of the terms of any settlement reached between the employer and employee. The effect of signing such an agreement is that the employee waives their employment rights to bring a claim against the employer, in consideration of receipt of a settlement payment and any other benefits which an employer agrees to provide. Our expert legal employment team based in offices across Essex and London can advise upon whether a settlement agreement is suitable for your specific scenario.

Unfair Dismissal

Employers should be aware that there are five ‘potentially fair’ reasons to dismiss an employee:

  • Capability or qualifications
  • Conduct
  • Redundancy
  • Statutory restriction
  • Some other substantial reason

From 6 April 2012, the qualifying period for an employee to make a claim for unfair dismissal was increased, from one to two years. This applies to employees who commenced employment on or after 6 April 2012.

Employers should also note that, in certain circumstances, a dismissal can be deemed automatically unfair if connected to reasons involving pregnancy or childbirth, health and safety activities and the act of whistleblowing.

Constructive Dismissal

Constructive dismissal occurs where the employer does not dismiss the employee, but the employee feels they have no option but to resign due to a number of reasons. Employees often seek to rely upon the implied term of mutual trust and confidence. A constructive dismissal may also be considered to be an unfair/wrongful dismissal.

For a constructive dismissal claim to succeed, an employee will need to show that:

  • Their employer was in repudiatory breach of their employment contract
  • They resigned in response to that breach; and
  • There was not a long delay before resigning in response to their employer's breach

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If an employee has raised a grievance and you are not sure how to proceed, or you are looking to commence a disciplinary process and require legal advice, please feel free to contact any of our employment law solicitors in Essex and London directly to discuss your requirements in more detail; we are more than happy to provide you with free initial advice in the form of a telephone consultation.

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