Calls for resignation! What can employers do?

Lord Nigel Lawson has called on Mark Carney to stand down as Governor of the Bank of England last night after his ‘disgraceful’ conduct over Brexit, according to reports.

The Conservative peer and former chancellor has apparently accused the Canadian of joining ‘the chorus of scaremongering’ during the EU referendum campaign.

It’s not uncommon for those in positions of power to experience calls for their resignation – just ask any football manager. But it can happen in more everyday workplaces too, when outside parties – such as clients and customers – complain about members of staff and question whether they should remain in their position.

So, faced with calls for an employee to go, what can employers do, and how can they act reasonably, fairly and within the law? We asked employment solicitors for their view…

Jacqueline Kendal, head of employment law at Rosling King said: “Any employer who dismisses someone simply because a third party requires them to do so is unfairly dismissing that person. There may be instances when the cause of the third party’s call for dismissal is based on an employee’s actions and those actions would justify dismissal, for example, leaking the third party’s confidential information, but then the employer is still required to conduct an investigation and follow a normal disciplinary procedure before deciding what sanction, if any, should follow. It is possible that an employer could “buy” the person out of their role by negotiating a settlement agreement and ending the employee’s employment by agreement. In this scenario, it does not appear that Mark Larney has done anything to justify dismissal, Lord Lawson just does not like the news and opinion stating.”

Louise Lawrence, senior associate at Winckworth Sherwood said: “It is of course important for employers to listen to complaints which they receive from customers or clients about the conduct of their employees.  However, it is important to remember that employees have employment rights.  Before dismissing or taking disciplinary action against an employee, the employer should firstly investigate the complaint and hold a fact finding meeting with the employee to hear their side of the story.  If the employer remains concerned about the complaint, having heard from the employee, then it will need to follow a fair disciplinary process before taking any action against the employee.”



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