Unusual Dismissals - A "how to" guide for Aspiring HR Advisers

4 mins

Posted on 04 May 2021

Unusual Dismissals - A "how to" guide for Aspiring HR Advisers

In the third webinar of our HR Adviser Series, we host a Q&A session discussing unusual dismissals that don’t fall into the usual categories of performance, misconduct or redundancy: dismissals that fall into the “other reasons” category. This session is particularly suitable for aspiring HR practitioners and those wanting to brush up and solidify their knowledge on the essential employment law aspects of unfair dismissal.

With examples of their own experiences and case law, Hannah Mathews (Associate) and James Morrison (Associate) answer questions which focus on termination of employment in scenarios that don’t fit the typical instances of misconduct, capability or redundancy. This will cover:

  • Business reorganisations and firing and re-hiring
  • Personality clashes, loyalty issues and breakdowns in the employment relationship
  • Fixed-term contracts and illegal contracts
  • Compulsory retirement 

Webinar Takeaways

Employee dismissals can be fair in any number of different scenarios, even those which fall outside the common grounds of redundancy, capability and conduct. In all cases, an employer should avoid “knee-jerk” reactions and make sure a fair process is followed before dismissal. The best approach will vary depending on the situation and in this session, we cover questions on a range of scenarios including: 

  • What can an employer do if an employee refuses to accept changes to their employment terms?
  • How should an employer handle a personality clash between employees and what are the potential risks? 
  • What happens at the end of a fixed term contract? 
  • How should an employer deal with a customer’s request to dismiss an employee?
  • How can an employer respond to potential reputational issues posed by an employee’s conduct? 
  • Does the Acas Code apply to “some other substantial reason” dismissals?

Interested in a particular area? Find the answer easily without watching the whole webinar (times are approx)

1. Minutes 1-1.30 Introduction

2. Minutes 1.30-3 Basics of unfair dismissal protections 

3. Minutes 3-4.20 What are the different types of dismissal?

4. Minutes 4.20-6 'Some other substantial reason' (SOSR) explained

5. Minutes 6-7.25 Illegality, what does this mean?

Business reorganisations and firing and re-hiring

6. Minutes 7.25-8.45 What are the circumstances where a business restructure may give rise to a fair SOSR?

7. Minutes 8.45-10.45 What does the phrase 'Fire & Rehire' mean?

8. Minutes 10.45-11.35 What should employers be considering before proceeding to change employees' terms & conditions? 

9. Minutes 11.35-13.50 Can an employer rely on the grounds of SOSR to potentially dismiss an employee fairly, if they refuse to accept changes to their T&C's?

10. Minutes 13.50-16.25 An example

11. Minutes 16.25-17 What would happen if an employer imposed changes on an employee without their consent? 

12. Minutes 17-18.35 What do employers need to consider where there appears to be a conflict between team members? 

13. Minutes 18.35-20.05 What about a scenario where there is a genuine personality clash or interpersonal issue?

14. Minutes 20.05-23.05 What if the issues can't be resolved?

15. Minutes 23.05-26.40 Can an employer fairly dismiss an employee at a clients request?

16. Minutes 26.40-28.25 What about a scenario where an employee has not committed misconduct but the employer perceives that there is a risk it will suffer reputational damage?

Fixed-term contracts 

17. Minutes 28.25-29.10 Is an employee "dismissed" for the purpose of bringing an unfair dismissal claim if their employment terminates at the end of a fixed-term contract?

18. Minutes 29.10-30.45 How can an employer ensure that SOSR is a potentially fair reason for dismissal when hiring an employee to provide temporary maternity or shared parental leave cover?

Compulsory retirement

19. Minutes 30.45-33 Can employers fairly dismiss employees because they have reach retirement age?


20. Minutes 33-34.10 Examples of Situations in which an employer might fairly dismiss an employee on the grounds of illegality

21. Minutes 34.10-34.45 Can an employee bring a claim if they have been working illegally? 


22. Minutes 34.45-36.50 Does an employer need to comply with the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance procedures before dismissing on the grounds of SOSR?

23. Minutes 36.50-38 When should a settlement agreement be considered in a potential dismissal scenario?

24. Minutes 38-39 What's the most unusual dismissal we've advised on?

25. Minutes 39-41.55 Key Takeaways

Key contacts

Hannah Mathews

  • Associate
  • T: +44 (0)203 696 7175
  • Email me

View profile

James Morrison

  • Associate
  • T: +44 (0)207 042 7203
  • Email me

View profile

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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