Dismissing an employee: SOSR

When a business wants to make a change to the terms and conditions of its employees, it often goes through a process of consultation, seeking agreement to the changes. If, after the consultation period, all or some of the employees do not agree to the proposed changes, the business may be able to dismiss these employees fairly for some other substantial reason (SOSR), offering employment on new terms and conditions.

In a recent case, a company asked its employees to take a 5% pay cut after a fall in the company's sales and profits. Following a company-wide consultation, only two employees refused to agree to the change. The company terminated their employment and offered new terms and conditions on reduced pay. The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the dismissal was fair for SOSR.

The case confirms that employers do not have to show that their business reason for making a change was special or extraordinary. Where an overwhelming majority of the workforce accept the change, individual employees may struggle to show that their dismissal for refusing to accept the change was unfair. This checklist highlights some common examples of SOSR.

For further information, please contact our Employment Law Team.

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