Fair reasons for dismissal from the workplace
If an employer dismisses a person from the workplace, they must have a fair reason for their actions, as without this backing they can be held accountable for unfair or prejudicial practices. That said, there are plenty of reasons why individuals can lose jobs at an organisation.
Should an employer dismiss a worker, because of their conduct, it almost always means they have broken one or more terms of employment. Regular issues that crop up include continually missing work, bad discipline, theft, dishonesty or drug and alcohol abuse. These problematic issues must always follow a fair disciplinary procedure before dismissing the person for misconduct.
Many times, jobs are lost by individuals who do not have the capacity to carry out the tasks necessary. If an employer has dismissed a worker for capability purposes, it can encompass a number of issues, particularly if the person does not have the qualifications.
Many workers may be unable to keep up with technological changes to the job, while others in more social or team-based environments may not be able to get along with colleagues. However, in the situation where a person is performing poorly, they ought to be warned of the fact and given another chance to improve before any action is taken and jobs are lost.
Long-term or persistent illnesses may make it impossible for a person to do a job, though it is the employer's prerogative to look at any alternatives before dismissing anyone. They may have to consider whether jobs are contributing to the illness, and if so, how they can be adapted.
If there is a legally-recognised disability affecting an employee, a boss has the legal duty to find a way around the problem, making reasonable adjustments to how or where the person works; otherwise, dismissal due to disability could be unlawful discrimination.
Employment contracts can also end because of retirement, as this is a type of dismissal. In order for it to be a fair dismissal, employers must follow the legal retirement procedure and give six months' notice of retirement. If the person in question wants to continue working past retirement then employers must consider all applications, though this is at their discretion.
Other "substantial" reasons may be given by an employer. Directgov explained: "These include an emphasis here is on 'substantial'. [It] applies to a situation where your employer has an overwhelming reason why you must be dismissed. They would be expected to look at any alternatives before choosing to dismiss you.
"Reasons that have previously fallen into this category include: imprisonment; an unresolvable personality clash between you and a co-worker; [and] unreasonably refusing to accept a company reorganisation that changes your employment terms."