For reason of capability, qualifications or conduct

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If an employee turns out to be unsuitable for the job, or if they behave really badly, you may be able to dismiss them. However, it’s important to get both the evidence underlying the legitimacy of your decision and your procedure right, to ensure that your dismissal decision can subsequently withstand challenge by an unhappy employee.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 gives five potentially fair reasons for dismiss: capability or qualifications; misconduct; redundancy; statutory restriction; or ‘another substantial reason’.

To ensure that your reason is fair, you must undertake a fair dismissal procedure and only dismiss the employee when it is reasonable. In legal terms, this means that ‘dismissal must be within a range of reasonable responses’.

It’s not just about getting the paperwork and timing or tone of meetings right. Legally, employees in this position generally deserve a chance to improve. Dismissal needs to be the last resort if your action is to be lawful, so never dismiss an employee without properly establishing the facts, hearing what the employee has to say and then giving the dismissed employee a right to appeal.

Our guides, policies and templates will help you to avoid dismissing someone unfairly.

We recommend using our guides as your starting point and to set helpful context for the way in which the templates and other documents can be used. If you’re ever unsure about how to use any of our materials, just get in touch on the contact details below.


The content on elXtr has been prepared by LHS Solicitors. It’s intended as guidance only and not to be regarded as a substitute for consultation with one of our solicitors, since every case will ultimately turn on its own particular facts and circumstances. We recommend that you use our materials as your starting point and be aware that you sometimes have to follow a set procedure before taking any action, especially in an employment context. If you are in any doubt, we’d suggest that you get in touch with us and we’ll talk you through your options on how to get the right legal advice.