Unfair dismissal laws: Your views

Unproductive workers should lose their right to claim unfair dismissal, a leaked government report says.

The report, commissioned by the prime minister, argues this would mean more capable people would replace those sacked, boosting economic growth.

Here, BBC News website readers give their views and share their experiences of dismissal.

Alan Jones, Leeds

Alan Jones

As an owner of a small business employing 59 people, I think this is very good news.

Companies, especially small ones, are highly dependent on their staff, and it only takes one bad apple to cause a lot of damage.

It should be possible to get rid of anyone, irrespective of length of service, for any reason.

This gives employers the flexibility they need... to improve the workforce at times convenient to the company, to ensure the company survives and prospers.

The rare chance that companies, particularly smaller ones, will abuse longstanding employees is small compared to the vast return the economy, businesses and employees will see as a result.

Over 20 years as a business owner I have had to deal with the expense, stress and loss of profit caused by "bad" work colleagues.

It would have been better for all to have simply parted company.

In my mind there is no such thing as unfair dismissal, especially in smaller companies.

Susan John, Farnborough, Hampshire

Susan John

I have very stressful memories of my own experience when I was working as a HR manager.

The way I was treated over a period of four years proved so untenable that I could not work any longer, particularly towards the latter period when an associate manager was wrongly accused of allegations, and I was expected to support them - which I could not.

Thereafter, life was made intolerable for me, including allegations of my poor performance as an excuse to build the company's defence against my claim for constructive dismissal.

My former employers settled on my claim for constructive dismissal and I took them to court separately, and won.

However, if anyone thinks making an unfair dismissal claim is anything but traumatic and stressful, they are wrong.

It is absolutely awful and takes over your life. It is not an exercise to be taken on lightly.

I have seen it from the other side, having worked in HR, and it is thoroughly unpleasant for both parties.

If unfair dismissal laws are eased, it would be a backward step because businesses have far more resources at their disposal to be able to afford a fight than an individual employee.

Martin Hoban, Birmingham

After 37 years in a company that was and still is thriving, I was dismissed without any consultation.

The reason given was restructuring, although the HR contact admitted that this was just a method used to remove people - and that no redundancy actually existed.

When I suggested that I had a genuine grievance, I was challenged to do whatever I wished and although I had an excellent work record, it was suggested that they could always invent something damning about me.

I think the laws already do not go far enough to protect the employee, and unless you can get witnesses to support you, it is very difficult to proceed.

Even then the awards for unfair dismissal will only compensate for loss of earnings, which tend to cover a small period of time and equate to a few months' salary.

Paul Whitaker, Bridlington

I work in the civil service and see on a day-to-day basis the very essence of this problem.

Incapable staff are left to coast along whilst management are incapable or unwilling to resolve the problem.

Another hidden knock-on effect is that more capable and willing staff become demotivated and departments become only as good as their weakest links.

In turn, management become figures of derision for not sorting problems out.

Whilst I don't agree that management should be given a free hand to hire and fire at will, we need a better system than is currently in place.

If management are managing properly, fair enough. If staff are not pulling their weight or are simply not up to the job, what have they got to complain about?

The government, management and unions should stop dancing around each other and get together and sort this out.

Apply some common sense for the sake of the majority of the country.

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