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Rebecca Peterson of Wansbroughs

Expert opinion: Why sacking a poor performing employee may not be as easy as sacking a football club manager

The new football session has started – how many clubs will finish this session with a different manager to the one they started with?

We are used to hearing about the sudden departures of football club managers deemed to be failing with their clubs just a few weeks/months into the season, but is it as easy to get rid of your employees who you feel are failing to deliver in your business?

Watching the often precarious world of the football manager, employers could be forgiven for thinking that sacking one of their own staff, especially if they feel they are failing, can be easily done.

However despite the talk of sacking, the contract between a football manager and their club will nearly always be very different to the way in which most employers should deal with their poor performing employees. Failing to follow procedures can leave an employer at risk of falling foul of a wide range of legislation designed to protect employees.

Employers should make sure that they comply with their own internal capability procedures if an employee is performing poorly. However, if you do not have your own internal procedure you should follow the guidance under the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, which requires you to:

  • Raise and deal with issues promptly
  • Act consistently
  • Carry out the necessary investigations
  • Inform employees of the basis of the problem and give them an opportunity to put their case at a meeting
  • Allow employees to be accompanied at any poor performance meeting and
  • Allow employees to appeal at all stages, not just in relation to dismissal.

So even if you have your very own manager that you would like to publicly fire for failing your ‘team’, caution should be taken as following the correct procedures is often the best and ultimately the cheapest way to deal with a problem.

It is also easy for employers in the short term to ignore poor performance in the hope that it will go away. It should not be ignored because poor performance has an adverse effect on the morale of employees and poor performing employees have negative financial implications for your business.

Rebecca Peterson is an employment law specialist at Wansbroughs in Devizes. Contact her on 01380 733300 or at