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20. Ending Employment Contracts at Common Law; and Duties to Redundant and Transferring Staff  

This chapter identifies the remedy for the termination of contracts of employment through the common law claim of wrongful dismissal. It addresses situations of redundancy, and the rights of individuals and obligations on employers when the business is transferred to a new owner. Each of these measures offer protection to employees, and employers should understand the nature of these rights, the qualifications necessary for each mechanism, and the remedies available, to ensure they select the most appropriate mechanism to bring the employment relationship to an end. Before the 1960s, contracts of employment were largely dealt with by the ‘normal’ rules of contract law and were often heard by courts that hear contractual disputes. It is important to be aware of the mechanisms that will enable termination of the employment relationship without transgressing the law in order to maintain good working relations.