Can misconduct allegations or the letter of dismissal be issued via email?Posted in : Seamus Says - Employment Law Discussion on 13 December 2017
Q. Can misconduct allegations or the letter of dismissal be issued by email nowadays? People use emails rather than send letters. It's okay to say, "You're now dismissed" and send by email or invite them to a hearing by email rather than a letter.
Seamus: My initial thoughts on that are that, I don't have any difficulty with email being used because the fact of the matter is that it's how we all communicate. And it's accepted by the courts. I mean, in the courts and tribunals, we communicate by email as well. And on the practicalities of that, I've maybe have a different type of thought about that than it would be that if you are dismissing someone and if they've been suspended and they're out of the office or out of the place of work, and I think it's fair in terms of sending an email. But if they're still in the office, I think you would have the practicalities of going to them, getting their property back, or getting the company property back often. It might be a case where you're escorting them off the premises and things like that. It's one to think about.
I think as a matter of courtesy, and the better way of dealing with it would always be face-to-face. That mightn't always be possible. And I think what you need to make sure that the person does use that email account that they are going to read it. Think about maybe putting in a sent / delivered / read receipt on to your email . . . if it's possible because not all the e-mail systems can do that. And I make sure that that was on.
In terms of the letter sent and the allegations, I don't have any difficulties. If you knew that the employee is going to pick that email up. And certainly what you can do is have a conversation with the employee and ask them, is there a way for us to communicate by email that you will check and things like that. Certainly no difficulties in doing it that way.
More on Disciplinary & Grievance
- When it comes to determining the appropriate sanction for an incident of misconduct, can an employer take into account a previous first written warning?
- Mr J Hargreaves v Governing Body of Manchester Grammar School 
- In Brief: Important Updates from October 2018
- Top Tips for Managing Disciplinary and Grievance Matters
- Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd 
The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.