What is an SOSR dismissal?

SOSR, or ‘some other substantial reason’, is a catch-all term acknowledging that there may occasionally be reasons why it is justifiable and necessary to dismiss an employee in circumstances which don’t fit neatly under one of the other potentially fair categories.

Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, there are five potentially fair reasons for dismissal. Dismissing someone for one of these reasons doesn’t necessarily mean the dismissal will be legally fair though, as process and whether the decision was reasonable in the circumstances are also relevant.

The potentially fair reasons include capability, misconduct, redundancy and if continuing employment would be in contravention of a statutory duty or restriction. In addition to these reasons, we also have Some Other Substantial Reason, or SOSR

While it isn’t possible to develop a complete list of SOSR justifications, there are a handful of reasons which have been found to justify SOSR dismissals, such as:

  • Client pressure

If you have an employee working closely with, or on-site at, a client, and that client indicates that they no longer accept working with that member of staff.

  • Changes to terms and conditions

Justifiable business reasons to change terms and conditions employment and you have staff who refuse to accept them, a SOSR dismissal followed by reengagement on the new terms, although deemed and underhand tactic of fire.

  • Risk to reputation of the business

Continuing to employ the worker places the reputation of your business at unacceptable risk. More relevant in senior or the role is publicly representing the business.

  • Breakdown in trust and confidence

Something has fundamentally undermined the trust and confidence you have in a member of staff, ensuring it doesn’t naturally sit under misconduct instead.

  • Employee relationships’ breakdown

Two employees between whose relationship has irretrievably broken down, and this makes continuing to employ them both impossible.

If you are considering dismissing someone for SOSR, you should make sure the reason is objectively substantial and must be having a significant impact on the business. It also must be a situation where dismissal is the only viable route. However as with any dismissal, caution should be applied, and you should take professional advice before proceeding.

If you have any concerns about this subject contact us at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk and we can discuss.


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