Generally speaking, an employee who works wholly or mainly in
Guernsey and who has been continuously employed for at least one
year has the right under Guernsey law not to be unfairly
There are exceptions to the one year service requirement in
certain cases which include pregnancy, health and safety, trades
union related dismissals, and assertion of statutory rights.
Complaints of unfair dismissal are heard by the Guernsey
Employment and Discrimination Tribunal.
What Constitutes a Dismissal?
There are three ways in which a dismissal may take place:
Where the contract of employment is terminated by the employer
with or without notice
Where a fixed term contract expires without being renewed
Where the employee is forced to resign with or without notice
by reason of the employer's conduct
It is for the employee who presents a complaint of unfair
dismissal to the Tribunal to prove that they were dismissed.
Statutory Fair Reasons for Dismissal?
Once an employee has established that a dismissal has taken
place, it is for the employer to show what the reason for dismissal
was and that it was one of the five potentially fair reasons laid
down by the law.
The five potentially fair reasons are:
Capability or qualifications of the employee
Statutory restriction (e.g. a lorry driver losing their HGV
Some other substantial reason such as to justify dismissal
(such as a business reorganisation or breakdown in the employment
A dismissal for a reason which falls outside the five statutory
fair reasons will be automatically unfair.
The Question of Fairness
Even if an employer dismisses an employee for a reason which is
potentially fair under the law, an employee may still succeed in a
claim for unfair dismissal. The Tribunal has power to decide that
an employer failed to act reasonably in treating the alleged reason
as a sufficient ground for dismissal. In considering the overall
fairness of the decision, the Tribunal must have regard to all the
circumstances of the case (including the size and administrative
resources of the employer's undertaking).
Broadly speaking, there are two stages in the process of
determining whether or not a dismissal was fair. The first stage
involves the Tribunal determining whether the employer went through
proper procedures before taking action against the employee, i.e.
were adequate warnings given (if appropriate), was there a full
investigation, a proper hearing, a right of appeal and so
The second stage involves the Tribunal considering (amongst
other matters) any mitigating circumstances in the case and whether
the employer's treatment of the employee was consistent with
its treatment of other employees.
If a Tribunal finds in favour of the employee, the only remedy
available is a cash award. The award for unfair dismissal is a
maximum of six months' pay, where "pay" is defined to
include any pecuniary benefits paid to the employee in cash under
their employment contract. There is no right to reinstatement or
re-engagement under Guernsey law.
On 1 January 2017 the Financial Services Rule Book 2016 comes into operation. With this will be the requirement on all Isle of Man licence holders to establish, implement and maintain an effective whistleblowing policy.
The Ministry of Human Resources has recently issued a string of new ministerial resolutions and decrees designed to address gaps in the employment regulatory framework and reinforce existing legislation...
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