Summary Dismissal is a form of employment termination that takes place quickly and without giving the employee a chance to make amends. Usually, this kind of dismissal is applied when an employee has committed major misconduct, such as theft or assault.
Summary dismissal is also employed when the company is shutting down the business and there is no longer a need for the employees to work.
How Can Summary Dismissals Be Justified?
Fair reasons for Summary Dismissal include gross misconduct, breach of contract, and serious violations of health and safety regulations. Gross misconduct is any intentional or negligent behavior that is serious enough to cause major disruption to the business.
Breach of the contract includes an employee not complying with the terms of the employment contract, such as not providing the required service or not performing their duties to the required standard. A serious violation of health and safety regulations includes any behavior that puts the safety of the business and its employees at risk.
Fair reasons for summary dismissal include:
Gross misconduct (intentional or negligent behavior that causes major disruption to the business)
Breach of contract (not complying with the terms of the employment contract)
Serious violation of health and safety regulations (any behavior that puts the safety of the business and its employees at risk)
Failure to comply with company policies and procedures
Fraud, dishonesty, and other serious criminal behavior
A summary dismissal may also be justified based on the following behaviors:
Drunkenness or drug use
Violent or threatening behavior
Misuse of company property or resources
Stealing or misappropriation of funds
Acts of sabotage
Discrimination or harassment
Failure to follow instructions
Carrying out prohibited activities
What Constitutes an Unlawful Summary Dismissal?
Summary Dismissal is unlawful if it is done for an unlawful reason, such as discrimination, or if the employer has not followed due process. Summary dismissal is also unlawful if it is done in retaliation for an employee’s whistle-blowing.
Additionally, summary dismissal may be deemed unfair if the employee has not been given a fair opportunity to defend themselves or if the action taken is deemed to be too harsh or disproportionate in the circumstances.
It may be unlawful to dismiss a worker in a summary manner without committing gross misconduct. Summary dismissals are unlikely to be lawful for behaviors such as:
Regularly showing up to work late.
Having too many absences.
Not taking care of personal hygiene needs.
Having a distracting personal appearance.
Performing substandard work.
Minor disputes with colleagues or customers.
Expressing political or religious views.
The risks of issuing a summary dismissal include:
Potential legal action from the employee if they feel they have been unfairly dismissed.
The possibility of negative publicity if the employee makes an issue of dismissal in the media.
Damage to the employer’s reputation if the employee’s allegations are proven to be true.
Cost and time associated with defending any potential legal action.
The risk of an employment tribunal ruling against the employer if the summary dismissal is deemed unfair.
The possibility of other employees feeling less secure in their roles leads to decreased morale and productivity.
What is Instant Dismissal?
The grounds for instant dismissal are typically related to gross misconduct, such as theft, fraud, violence, or gross negligence. Instant dismissal may also be warranted if the employee has breached a legal duty or brought the employer into disrepute.
An employee may also be subject to immediate dismissal if they have been found to have committed an act of discrimination, sexual harassment, or bullying.
How do Summary Dismissals Work?
While terminating someone instantly isn’t true in real life. However, the procedures for summary dismissal typically involve the following steps:
Notifying the employee of the grounds for their dismissal.
A response regarding the accusations of the employee should be provided.
Conducting a reasonable investigation into the grounds for dismissal.
Gathering sufficient evidence to back up the accusations.
Holding a disciplinary hearing.
The outcome of the hearing should be communicated to the employee.
Providing the employee with a dismissal letter, including their termination date and the right to appeal.
What are the Various Forms of Dismissal?
The different types of dismissal include:
Fair dismissal: Fair dismissals are those done for a good reason and with a fair process.
Voluntary redundancy: Voluntary redundancy is when an employee is let go due to a decrease in business or changes in the workplace.
Unfair dismissal: Unfair dismissals are done without following the proper procedures.
Constructive dismissal: Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns in response to a serious breach of the terms of the employment contract.
Wrongful dismissal: Wrongful dismissal occurs when there is a breach of contract.
What Differentiates a Summary Dismissal from a Dismissal?
The main difference between dismissal and summary dismissal is that summary dismissal is done without prior notice or payment for notice.
Summary dismissal is usually only used in cases of gross misconduct, and employers must ensure that they follow a fair procedure when conducting a summary dismissal. Dismissal, on the other hand, usually comes with a written notice and payment instead of a notice.
Summary dismissal is an extreme measure to take in cases of gross misconduct and must be done in a fair and legal manner. The consequences of such drastic actions need to be considered by employers.
It is important to follow the correct procedures and ensure that employees are given the opportunity to explain their actions before taking any decision to dismiss them. It is also important to consider the possibility of alternative action, such as suspension or other disciplinary measures, before considering summary dismissal.