Employment Disputes
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3. What constitutes unreasonable dismissal?

Under section 32K of the Employment Ordinance, the five valid reasons for dismissal or variation of the terms of an employment relate to:

(a) the conduct of the employee;
(b) the capability or qualification to perform work;
(c) redundancy or other genuine operational requirements of the business;
(d) statutory requirements; or
(e) other substantial reasons.

If an employee has been employed under a continuous contract for not less than 24 months and is dismissed by the employer without a valid reason as specified above, then the dismissal would be unreasonable.

With regard to point (a) above, there are many examples of employees' misconducts which may be considered as valid reasons for dismissal. These examples include: persistent lateness, drunkenness during working hours and disclosing confidential information, etc. Reasons for summary dismissal as mentioned in Question 1 are also included.