Dismissal without prejudice

 

If an employer wants to dismiss an employee but wants to bypass procedures that apply to the dismissal, ‘without prejudice’ meetings may be held between the two parties.

In a ‘without prejudice’ meeting, the subject of discussion between the employer and employee cannot be used in subsequent legal proceedings as evidence. A brief example illustrates this point.

Example:

In a without prejudice meeting, an employer tells an employee that they want to dismiss them but do not want to follow the statutory procedures. They also tell the employee that they will pay them £5,000 to sign a compromise agreement if they agree to end their employment contract.

If subsequent legal proceedings between the parties ensued, the employee could not use what their employer told them in that without prejudice meeting as evidence.

However, recent case law has cast doubt as to whether an employer can rely on the ‘without prejudice’ rule. If an employer is contemplating dismissal, without prejudice meetings will only work if:

  • There is a genuine dispute between the two parties
  • The employee consents to the ‘without prejudice’ meeting (this may be difficult to prove as an employee is unlikely to know what the term means. Employers should ensure that employees are told before the meeting the exact meaning of discussions on a ‘without prejudice’ basis)

In some cases where an employer is contemplating a dismissal, without prejudice meetings cannot be used. For example, if the employer’s reasons for dismissal of an employee are discriminatory.  

If you would like to obtain legal advice and information on using without prejudice meetings, or if you are an employee and have been asked to attend a without prejudice meeting, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist Employment Solicitor free of charge.  So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local Employment Solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above. 

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