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.