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Dismissal and checking the right to work in the UK

Posted on April 08, 2016

8 April 2016: Checking the Right to Work in the UK:

Employers should check their employee’s right to work in the UK, regardless of their apparent origin (see www.gov.uk/legal-right-to-work-in-the-uk). It is unlawful to employ someone who does not have the right to work in the UK or who is working in breach of their conditions of stay in the UK.

In Nayak v Royal Mail Group reported this week, the EAT held that that the employer’s genuine and reasonable belief that an employee was no longer permitted to work in the UK was sufficient to dismiss fairly for ‘Some Other Substantial Reason’.  Royal Mail had attempted to establish Mr Nayak’s immigration status over a period of several years but he had persistently failed to co-operate.

Mr Nayak unsuccessfully argued that Royal Mail had followed an unfair procedure in subjecting him to unnecessary six-monthly checks that were not required by law. Royal Mail argued that that it had reasonable cause for concern as to whether Mr Nayak had a continuing right to work in the UK.

The case demonstrates that for an ‘SOSR’ dismissal to be fair, the employer merely has to demonstrate that it had a genuine and reasonable belief that (in this case) the employee did not have the right to work in the UK.

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