HR Glossary

Summary Dismissal

What is a summary dismissal?

A summary dismissal is a type of termination of employment that is initiated without notice and without the employee having an opportunity to remedy the situation. This type of dismissal is most often used in situations where the employee has engaged in serious misconduct, such as theft or violence. Summary dismissal is also sometimes used when the employer is closing down the business and there is no need for the employees to continue working.

What are the reasons for summary dismissal?

There are a variety of reasons an employer may choose to summarily dismiss an employee. Some of the most common reasons are poor performance, attendance issues, misconduct, or a conflict of interest. Other reasons may include the closing of a business, downsizing, or the elimination of a position. Whatever the reason, the employer must be able to demonstrate that the dismissal was for a valid reason and that they followed all the proper procedures. If the employee is unionized, the employer must also follow the collective bargaining agreement.

What are the factors for consideration when dismissing an employee summarily?

When dismissing an employee summarily, an employer must take into account a number of factors, including the following:

  • The nature of the employee’s offence or misconduct
  • The length of time the employee has been employed
  • The employee’s position within the company
  • Whether the employee has been warned about their conduct in the past
  • Any mitigating factors, such as whether the employee has a disability
  • The impact of the dismissal on the employee’s ability to find new employment
  • The cost of the dismissal process.


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