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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48190
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We run a cleaning company and one of our employees has been

Customer Question

We run a cleaning company and one of our employees has been on sick for a few weeks, during this time the customer has decided he no longer wants her to clean for him. Can I dismiss her? She has eleven years of service
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long has she been working for you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
eleven years
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court for the rest of today so will prepare my advice in a while and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi sorry forgot to ask - are there any other jobs you can ask her to do? For example do you clean for other clients?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No nothing available
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. As this person has more than 2 years’ service they will be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that to fairly dismiss them you must show that there was a fair reason for dismissal and also follow a fair procedure. There are a handful of reasons which can be used, such as misconduct, capability, redundancy and also some other substantial reason. The last one is the most likely one you can use in this case if you were to try and argue a fair reason for dismissal. Your argument would be that a third party had either requested the removal of this employee or through their actions the employee was unable to perform any work, which would justify the dismissal.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the specific case law which backs this up and the procedure you must follow, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have an informal interview booked for today so I would like to see how that goes and then come back to you,
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If I decide to terminate her contract would you tell me the procedure I need to follow?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

yes certainly, if you could please rate the initial response then I can continue with my follow up advice as promised and tell you what you can rely on to possibly terminate her employment. thank you

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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. As mentioned, there are circumstances when an employer may feel forced to move or even dismiss an employee because of pressure from a third party. This pressure may come from a valued customer or from another third party that has a degree of influence over the employer, such as a supplier, the landlord of their premises, etc. Such a dismissal can be deemed fair because it would amount to 'some other substantial reason' (SOSR), which is one of the potentially fair reasons for dismissal allowed under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

It is generally accepted that the reason behind the third party's request is irrelevant and there is no requirement on the employer to establish the truth behind the allegations. What really matters is the how important the third party's continued business is to the employer and what risks there are to that relationship if the employer does not act as per the request.

For example, in the case of Dobie v Burns International Security Services, Mr Dobie was a security guard working for a contractor who supplied security staff to a Council. Friction developed between a senior Council employee and Mr Dobie, with the Council demanding his removal from their site. His employer eventually dismissed him. He made a claim against his employer, however he lost with the decision being that third party pressure to dismiss can amount to a fair reason for dismissal.

Employers must still act reasonably when dismissing, in accordance with established employment principles and would need to undertake some form of investigation and hold a dismissal meeting. They should also consider whether there is any other alternative employment that can be offered to the employee instead of dismissing them because dismissal should only be seen as a last resort. However, in principle, such dismissals can be fair.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have informally interviewed the employee and it looks apparent that she is unable to return to work and if she did would not be physically ft enough to carry out her contractual duties. The customer has confirmed he does not want her back because of her standard of work (she has a written warning dated 5 September for cleaning standards) I am going to request a medical report from her doctor with her permission and as I do not any other work available for this amount of hours then I will be looking to terminate her employment with us.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

ok that sounds reasonable just ensure it is all done without rushing so as to look you are just trying to get rid f her and document everything you do

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for your help
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

you are most welcome