How to correctly use SOSR and avoid claims for unfair dismissal

News Article

Dealing with the dismissal of an employee is something that most businesses inevitably have to face from time to time. The Employment Rights Act 1996 offers four reasons for dismissal, including conduct, redundancy, capability and a statutory ban – where continuing employment would be deemed unlawful.

There are times, however, when a working relationship breaks down and, when none of the aforementioned reasons quite fit the situation, an employer can still dismiss an employee, citing ‘Some other substantial reason’ (SOSR).

SOSR can cover a number of issues including:

  • Third party pressure
  • Breakdown of the working relationship
  • Breakdown of trust and confidence

Charlotte Woolven Brown, an employment law specialist with Palmers, said: “Providing an employer follows the rules, SOSR is a perfectly valid reason for dismissal, according to employment legislation.

“Employment contracts are based on the implicit assumption that neither party’s behaviour will lead to a breakdown of trust and confidence so where an employee breaches this understanding, SOSR dismissal is perfectly lawful.

“Equally, employers should be aware that if they breach this understanding they could face claims for unfair dismissal.

“As with all terminations of employment, an SOSR dismissal should follow correct procedures. Evidence needs to be gathered and an employee has a right to a hearing, with advance notice of the situation so that they have time to prepare a rebuttal.

“Following the hearing, if you remain satisfied that an employee’s actions amount to a breach, you may have sufficient grounds for dismissal, although the correct notice periods and any payment in lieu of notice still apply.

“As with all forms of dismissal, seeking professional advice at an early stage can ensure that you do not fall foul of employment legislation and that the issue is dealt with objectively and with as little acrimony as possible.”

For advice on all aspects of employment law, please contact us.