Dismissing an Employee without Conflict or Legal Challenges
In 2015, Anneliese Cameron and her partner took over the Stephan Langton Inn in Surrey, quickly turning it into an award-winning pub and restaurant. Initially, they handled HR matters on their own and used a standard employment contract template for their employees, practices common to many small businesses. However, an issue with a member of staff that had been bubbling away for some time needed to be addressed. The person was consistently failing to meet job expectations and so Anneliese sought professional advice on how to deal with the situation.
“The person wasn’t just letting themselves down but everybody else down. It was a senior position, and so very important within the business. I also needed to show other members of staff that I was dealing with it, because they were getting fed up with the fact that this person wasn’t doing their job properly, and it was having a knock-on effect through the rest of the team.”
Anneliese says the employee had been given plenty of opportunities to change their ways but failed to do so. The crunch point came when she decided to tell them their services were no longer required. She wanted to do so in a way that would be fair to the employee and that would result in no comeback.
The individual concerned had been working for the pub for less than two years and so would not be eligible for an unfair dismissal claim. However, they were on a three-month notice period which would then have taken them over the two years.
“I didn’t want to pay this person three months’ leave notice, but I also needed to come to an arrangement that was going to be fair and legally binding.”
Anneliese turned to Carolyne Wahlen and Gap HR having received a recommendation from a colleague.
“What I needed to be sure of was that there would be no comeback afterwards. I had an initial conversation with Carolyne which was very helpful. She guided me through what we could say safely. We had the meeting with the employee and it was all fine. Part of the advice was to offer this person an alternative position which they declined. So we parted company. There were no further issues with them.”
Following the successful conclusion of the former employee’s exit from the company, Anneliese engaged Gap HR to redo the staff contracts and the company handbook. Carolyne also offered advice and made recommendations about employees’ use of social media and how they should conduct themselves online, an area of increasing complexity and importance to businesses.
“The advice was about being careful what you write on social media and not bringing the company into disrepute.
“I’m very satisfied with Gap HR. They’re efficient and I know they are there if I need to call them about anything. And touch wood there haven’t been any further issues.”
Co-Owner – Stephan Langton Inn