Essay Question The ability to dismiss an employee who is not performing is an essential element in managing any business. Beecroft Report on Employment Law: October 2011 Critically evaluate whether the current law on unfair dismissal does enough to permit employers to quickly and fairly dismiss underperforming staff members. As part of your evaluation you must consider statute, common law and ACAS statutory guidance. The Executive Summary Your essay should start with an Executive Summary of your argument. An Executive Summary is a concise document with a word count of 600 words, and that word count is separate to the word count of the essay. It should summarise your argument made in the main essay. It could be read separately from the main document and should make perfect sense to the reader, as in practice decisions are sometimes made on the basis of executive summaries. Your Executive Summary should: Contain brief analysis of the question / issue within the question Summarise the main argument Follow the structure of the essay Provide brief justifications for the arguments made Only include materials used for the main essay Contain a clear conclusion Employment Law Introduction to the topic Employers can fairly dismiss employees for several reasons including poor performance. However, the law regarding unfair dismissal requires the employer to not only show that the employee was dismissed for poor performance; an employer must overcome a reasonableness test and show that they followed a fair process in dismissing the underperforming employee. This is by no means an on the spot process. Unfair dismissal law is often a topic for discussion by the government. Employers feel that they are burdened by red tape to an extent that they are afraid to fire staff, even if they are underperforming. In April 2012, the law changed so that only employees with two years service or more with their employer can bring an unfair dismissal claim. Before this time, employees only needed one years service. Many employers have welcomed this change as it will give them more time to decide whether an underperforming employee can improve and be successful within the business without fearing an unfair dismissal claim. The hurdle of going through a disciplinary process has however remained. Introduction The introduction should set out how you are going to structure your answer by providing a framework and key points. It should provide the broad context for the essay by, for example, setting out why employers might be afraid to quickly dismiss underperforming employees. It should also give some indication of your own view on whether the current law on unfair dismissal does enough to permit employers to quickly and fairly dismiss underperforming staff members. Main body You should discuss who can bring an unfair dismissal claim under section 94(1) Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 96) and consider relevant case law. You will need to consider the position of employees, casual workers, agency workers and the self-employed. There should also be a discussion on the increase of the qualifying period from one to two years. It is anticipated that you will consider the governments response to their consultation Resolving Workplace Disputes and the Beecroft report. The essay question invites discussion on how quickly an employer can dismiss an employee so a discussion on the disciplinary process to be followed is expected including a discussion of the relevant case law in this area. As this process links to the reasonableness test set out. in section 98(4) ERA 96 you might discuss this test and the effect of ACAS statutory guidance (e.g. ACAS Code of Practice). You should also consider how employers can speed up the process of dismissing underperforming employees. You might want to discuss the use of settlement agreements or policies concerning performance. Your practical or commercial awareness should be shown here. Remember that whilst discussing statute, common law and statutory guidance you should be answering the essay question set. Academic commentary will be useful to help formulate an opinion. Conclusion This should provide a clear summary of the overall argument and specifically respond to the question.
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