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If your employer is dismissing you from your job then there are certain procedures they should follow. In some cases your employer might be able to instantly dismiss you without going through the normal disciplinary procedures.
What is instant dismissal?
If your employer instantly dismisses you without making any investigation into the reasons why you are being dismissed, the circumstances are nearly always considered unfair.
An example of an unfair dismissal could be where a colleague makes an accusation about you and instead of investigating the allegations your employer instantly fires/dismisses you.
In some very rare cases involving gross misconduct some automatic dismissals could be considered fair as the circumstances make an investigation by your employer unnecessary. In these cases your employer can operate a two-step disciplinary procedure. They can dismiss you and then go straight from the written statement to the appeal without holding a hearing in between.
Circumstances where an employer does not need to go through the normal disciplinary procedures
There are some circumstances where your employer can automatically dismiss you or take disciplinary action against you without going through the normal procedures:
Threat to your employer
If you employer has reasonable grounds to believe that going through normal disciplinary procedures would result in significant threat to the following, they don’t have to go through the normal disciplinary procedures
- their property
- some other person or their property
If a discussion between your employer and employee representatives is the best way of taking matters forward the normal disciplinary procedures don’t have to be followed.
An example is if your employer is laying off a group of staff and either before or when the employment terminates, offers to rehire them under different terms and conditions.
Duty to consult
If your employer is under a duty to consult employee representatives in relation to collective redundancies they don’t have to follow the normal disciplinary procedures.
If you are dismissed whilst taking industrial action your employer doesn’t have to follow the normal disciplinary procedures. In the case of lawful, officially organised action, special arrangements apply.
Your employer can't continue to employ you
If it is not possible for employment to continue, for example if a factory burns down and it is no longer practicable for your employer to employ anyone or if it becomes illegal for your employer to employ a particular employee then your employer doesn’t have to follow the normal disciplinary procedures.
It's not possible to use the procedures
If it is not possible or practicable for you or your employer to comply with the procedures within a reasonable period then you don't have to follow them.
Verbal and written warning or suspension on full pay
If your employer gives you a verbal or written warning or suspends you on full pay they don't have to follow the normal disciplinary procedures. If you do not agree with your employer's action you can raise a grievance.
Where to get help
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) offers free, confidential and impartial advice on all employment rights issues.
If you have a dispute which is likely to turn into an Employment Tribunal case, Acas may be able to offer you a free early conciliation service. Contact the Acas helpline to find out whether this would be suitable for you.
For more information on where to get help with employment issues visit the employment contacts page.