Dismissals & Severance Deals

Advice on dismissals in the workplace and offering severance deals

Wiltshire’s leading employment lawyers

How can Goughs support you?

Employment law is a difficult area to navigate as it often comes down to who said what and when. The first thing you need to know is that there are five reasons for which you can lawfully dismiss someone. Each of these is subject to interpretation, so if you have any concerns or queries we highly recommend that you get legal advice before taking any action. In most cases, the legal costs you incur will be far cheaper than any payment you may need to make, should the employee make a claim against you in the future. 

At Goughs we have been providing employment law expertise to individuals and businesses in Wiltshire since 1882 and have unrivalled experience in the area. We are here to offer support, advice and guidance. 

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Effectively using conflict to
resolve workplace disputes

Your local employment solicitor since 1882

Legitimate reasons to dismiss an employee

Under the Employment Rights Act there are 5 potentially fair reasons for dismissal. These are:


Capability or performance (this includes dismissals for two different reasons; capability – meaning ill health or poor performance)


Some other substantial reason

Statutory illegality or a breach of a statutory restriction

Any tribunal that may arise due to a perceived breach by the employee, will look at degrees of reasonableness and will essentially be asking, ‘is this within the parameters of a reasonable response by a reasonable employer?’

For further details on this approach and whether one of the legitimate areas to dismiss has been breached, as well as the evidence you may need to provide to prove it, please get in touch with an employment specialist.

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Most popular business
employment questions

As a general rule (save for redundancy), no you don’t. You may however want to consider this option if the employee you wish to remove from your business receives a large salary and lots of benefits as the impact to their life could be incredibly detrimental. Offering a severance package will also lead to a smoother, and quieter, transition and this may be particularly important if there’s a risk of a claim which you wish to avoid.

Firstly you must act fairly in the termination of an employee’s contract. To ensure you are acting fairly and appropriately you must always follow a procedure, usually this will have been set out in advance in an employee handbook or manual. If you do not have such documentation we would recommend that you get in touch to ensure you are communicating as you should be with the employee and following all the required legal processes in respect of fairness.

By following a formal procedure you are likely to avoid further implications such as being taking to a tribunal for unfair dismissal or other claim. 

At Goughs, our employment specialists can draft and tailor contracts and policies to fit your business needs, whilst ensuring they are reasonable and enforceable. We can help with both writing and reviewing existing contracts and advising on breach of employment contract issues. 

We have built up many years of experience and our team not only offer advice to businesses but also advise on broader business planning issues and sit on various advisory boards, ensuring that our advice and expertise looks beyond the contract itself and ensures all advice really is in the best interest of the future of the business.

Why you should put your business in Goughs hands


With offices throughout Wiltshire, we are here for face to face, or virtual appointments at a time to suit you.


We draw from a wide range of disciplines to support you in keeping your business moving forward.


Goughs have been providing legal services to businesses across the south west since 1882.

Your employment law team

Rebecca Dennis

Senior Associate, Head of Employment

Rebecca's professional background is unique in that she worked for more than 20 years as a barrister providing legal advice, drafting and advocacy for her clients and more recently provided specialist trouble-shooting services on employment law and employee relations at a leading international HR outsourcing company. She is now proud to lead the Employment Department at Goughs.

Kevin Basnett


Kevin deals with employment law matters in a pragmatic and logical manner to offer realistic, fair and reasonable recommendations to all clients.

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