`How to sack' guide attacked

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The Independent Online
A DO-IT-YOURSELF guide on how to sack staff and get away with it has been condemned as immoral by trade unionists and employment law specialists.

The 270-page book, by a leading employment barrister, provides a step- by-step guide to dismissing staff, including those who are off sick or caught smoking in non-smoking areas.

In a commentary accompanying the book, the author,Daniel Barnett, a member of two of the legal profession's leading employment bodies, said the book would help employers to sack staff in a way which reduced the chances of a "disgruntled employee succeeding in a claim for unfair dismissal".

Jimmy Knapp, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said he was concerned that the book would be used by unscrupulous employers to get rid of unwanted staff. "In my experience unprincipled employers will go to any length to undermine their employees' legal entitlements," he said. The Trades Union Congress said it was dismayed by the publication.

Lawrence Davies, a leading employment lawyer who won a case for unfair dismissal against the Central Intelligence Agency, said: "City law firms use seminars to teach employers how to play the system but it is usually done discreetly and in private. This is the first time that it has been done overtly, which is of great concern."

Mr Barnett said his book was written to help employers act fairly. "Citizen Advice Bureaux, law centres and unions provide free legal advice for employees on how to succeed in claims. This book redresses the balance by offering free advice to employers," he said.