Employment: Termination of contract and dismissal

Immediate termination of employment

With reference to section 9 of the Employment Ordinance, employers may summarily dismiss their employees without advance notice or wages in lieu of notice if their employees:

  • wilfully disobey any lawful and reasonable orders;
  • are guilty of misconduct;
  • are guilty of fraud or dishonesty; or
  • are habitually neglectful in their duties.

It should be noted that taking part in a strike may not be a lawful reason for summary dismissal by the employers.

NOTE: Summary dismissal is a serious disciplinary action. It only applies to cases in which employees have committed very serious misconduct or have failed to improve themselves after an employer’s repeated warnings.

With reference to section 10 of the Employment Ordinance, employees can terminate their employment contracts without advance notice or payment in lieu of notice if they:

  • reasonably fear physical danger by violence or disease when performing job duties;
  • are subjected to ill-treatment by their employers; or
  • have been employed for not less than five years and are certified as being permanently unfit for the type of work in their employment.

If there is any dispute, you can try to seek assistance from the Labour Relations Division of the Labour Department (telephone hotline: 27171771 or email: enquiry@labour.gov.hk). The staff of this Division provides a preliminary conciliation service to help in settling disputes and claims. If you fail to settle your dispute amicably outside the court, then you can bring your case to the Labour Tribunal.