There are so many reasons why employment relationships need to be terminated. There are times when employees just do something wrong (or stupid!); there are times when the business needs to change and new skills are required; there are then times when it’s clear that there’s just no fit between the employee and employer. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the options open to you when you decide that things just aren’t working out.
Take early action
Before we start discussing the options open to you in relation to terminating employment, we do want to spend a little time encouraging you to address problems as soon as they arise. We have a lot of clients who contact us because they’ve reached the point where they just want the problem solved and have missed simple steps that could have avoided the issues at this stage.
When issues start to emerge, your best course of action is to talk to the employee. If the business needs an employee to be doing something different then define what that is, speak with the individual and coach them in a new direction. Try to address problems as soon as possible because they really do have a tendency to grow.
Even with your best endeavours, they’ll still be times when you need to consider terminating employment. So, what are the options open to you?
Terminating Employment via the Disciplinary Process
In cases where an individual is under performing or does something wrong the most common course of action is to commence the disciplinary procedure.
This will see a business write to the employee informing them of the issue, undertake any necessary investigation, conduct a disciplinary hearing and then make a decision on the most appropriate next steps.
- Where the problem relates to an action that is against company policy then a decision will be made as to what form of disciplinary action will be taken i.e. a first written warning, final written warning or dismissal.
- Where the problem is poor performance, the process is longer with a need to issue clear guidelines as to the areas of dissatisfaction and the required improvement. The individual then needs to be given sufficient time to improve and if they do not achieve the required standards then the disciplinary procedures moves to the next stage.
Terminating Employment via the Redundancy Process
If the decision is made that the business needs to reduce headcount then the redundancy process will be started. We’re not going to go through each step of this process as it can be fairly complicated and there are a number of factors which need to be considered before the correct approach can be decided upon.
If you’d like to speak with one of our advisers about an HR issue you’re facing then give us a call on 0203 319 1649 and one of our advisers can talk you through the specifics. Alternatively, complete the contact form and one of our advisers will be in touch.
What about those who just don’t ‘get it’?
There are then those employees who you just know are never really going to deliver what the business requires of them. They don’t under perform to such a level as to warrant disciplinary action but they just don’t ‘get it’.
- Maybe they don’t quite fit in with the rest of the team.
- Maybe they don’t share the vision the company has for where it’s going and they are in a position where you really need them to inspire others.
- Perhaps the business has changed and, whereas their approach and style used to be exactly what was needed, it now no longer works.
So, how do you go about terminating employment with this group?
Terminating Employment via a Settlement Agreement
When it becomes clear that an employment relationship simply isn’t going to work, but the reasons don’t really justify commencing either the disciplinary or the redundancy process, then entering into a Settlement Agreement is an option to be considered.
You’d begin by having an open conversation about the issues and the fact that you didn’t see things working out and then try to negotiate an exit package.
When the terms are agreed you’d use a Settlement Agreement to ensure that the employee couldn’t both take the severance package AND bring an Employment Tribunal claim against you.
There are some very strict requirements which need to be adhered to if you’re using Settlement Agreements so it’s best to seek guidance if this is something you’re considering.
Seek Professional Help
We would suggest that you always speak to a professional if you find yourself in a situation where you feel that employment needs to end but you aren’t quite sure of the best way forward.
There are options open to you and a solution to your problem but ignoring it won’t help!
If you’d like to speak with one of our advisers about an HR issue you’re facing then give us a call on 0203 319 1649. Alternatively, complete the contact form and one of our advisers will be in touch.