Some other substantive reason
In order for a dismissal of an employee to fair, it has to fall within one of the five permitted reasons for dismissal. One of these permitted reasons is called a dismissal for ‘some other substantive reason’ (SOSR) of a kind such as to justify the dismissal
SOSR is a residual “catch-all” potentially fair reason for dismissal. In the absence of a statutory definition of the term, we tend to rely on case law where a Tribunal has upheld an employers decision to dismiss for SOSR. In general, provided that the reason is not wholly frivolous or insignificant, it may be classed as substantial. Nevertheless, the interpretation of what is substantial is subjective and will depend on the facts and the type of case. The reason must also be of a kind which will justify the dismissal.
If dismissing for SOSR the employer will have to show that they acted reasonably, and also that they followed a fair procedure. Our specialist employment team can advise you as to whether a particular situation falls within this permitted reason for dismissal, and if appropriate how to ensure a fair procedure is adopted and followed.
So what could constitute a reason for dismissal which might amount to SOSR ? There is no definitive list, and almost any situation ‘could’ amount to a dismissal for SOSR. Some of the more common examples can include:
- Business reorganisation: where a reorganisation doesn’t result in a redundancy
- Refusal to accept changes to terms and conditions
- Personality clashes: if there are conflicting differences between colleagues which cause substantial business disruption, and as an employer you have exhausted every alternative such as changing the work pattern of the employees etc. then a dismissal could be for SOSR.
- Employed couples: if one employee is fairly dismissed for gross misconduct and the other employee then becomes difficult to manage.
- Breakdown of trust and confidence.
In all cases of dismissal, employers are encouraged to seek legal advice and to discuss options before proceeding with a dismissal.