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Chapter

Cover Smith & Wood's Employment Law

6. Termination of the employment contract at common law  

This chapter looks at termination of employment at common law, and at the breach of employment contract action known as ‘wrongful dismissal’. It first discusses ways in which the contract might untypically end by operation of law rather than the ‘dismissal’ on which many employee rights rest. The chapter then considers the right of either party to terminate most contracts by giving notice—a major feature of UK employment law—and the ability of the employer to dismiss summarily for gross misconduct. It concludes with a detailed analysis of the principal remedy for an employee at common law—the action for wrongful dismissal—which is completely separate and different from statutory unfair dismissal despite an unfortunate tendency for the press to treat them as interchangeable.

Chapter

Cover Smith & Wood's Employment Law

6. Termination of the employment contract at common law  

Ian Smith, Owen Warnock, and Gemma Mitchell

This chapter looks at termination of employment at common law, and at the breach of employment contract action known as ‘wrongful dismissal’. It first discusses ways in which the contract might untypically end by operation of law rather than the ‘dismissal’ on which many employee rights rest. The chapter then considers the right of either party to terminate most contracts by giving notice—a major feature of UK employment law—and the ability of the employer to dismiss summarily for gross misconduct. It concludes with a detailed analysis of the principal remedy for an employee at common law—the action for wrongful dismissal—which is completely separate and different from statutory unfair dismissal, despite an unfortunate tendency for the press to treat them as interchangeable.

Chapter

Cover Card & James' Business Law

28. The termination of employment  

This chapter examines the procedures and the obligations of employers in relation to the termination of employment. It discusses the concept of dismissal and the different types of dismissal. These include termination upon notice, termination upon expiry of a limited-term contract, summary dismissal, constructive dismissal, wrongful dismissal, and unfair dismissal. Each of these forms of dismissal is discussed in detail, including an examination of the requirements for establishing dismissal and the damages that can be awarded for dismissal in breach of the law. Finally, the chapter discusses when a worker is entitled to receive redundancy pay and how such pay is assessed.

Chapter

Cover Selwyn's Law of Employment

17. Unfair Dismissal  

The statutory provisions relating to unfair dismissal are found in ss 94–107 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. This chapter looks at what amounts to a dismissal and the ways in which a dismissal may take place, covering expiry of a fixed-term contract, resignation and constructive dismissal, and frustration of the contract. It also discusses the categories of employees which are not protected by the unfair dismissal provisions of ERA; the termination of the contract; fair and unfair dismissal; fair reasons for dismissal and some other substantial reason; written reasons for dismissal; and remedies for unfair dismissal such as reinstatement, re-engagement, and compensation, as well as showing how such compensation is to be calculated.

Chapter

Cover Employment Law

9. Wrongful and constructive dismissal  

This chapter begins with an exploration of wrongful dismissal law, which has for many decades provided employees who are dismissed in breach of their contracts with the opportunity to apply to a court for damages. In recent decades wrongful dismissal has been superseded to an extent by unfair dismissal law, which provides a more satisfactory remedy for most who are unlawfully dismissed. But there are circumstances in which the longer-established law continues to play a role, and this is the focus of the first part of the chapter. It then moves on to look at constructive dismissal law, which appears to become more significant each year as precedents are set and more people become aware of the possibilities it offers when they resign from their jobs as a direct result of suffering unacceptable treatment from their employers.