Unfair Dismissal

Employees who believe their employment was terminated without a fair reason may be able to take action. It’s called unfair dismissal.

What is Unfair Dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is when your employment contract is terminated and your employer did not have a fair or reasonable reason to do so. It can also be claimed if your employer did have a fair reason to terminate your employment – but did it without using the formal disciplinary or dismissal process.

Please note: Some employees can’t claim for unfair dismissal such as police officers, members of the armed forces, share fisherman, people who work outside Great Britain or registered dock workers. Please contact us if you are unsure if you can claim.

Your employer is required to show that the reason for dismissing you falls into one of the categories of ‘fair reason’ in the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Categories of ‘fair reason’ for dismissal are set out in the Employment Rights Act:

• You lacked capability or qualification (in relation to the work you were employed to do)
• The dismissal was a result of your conduct (such as gross misconduct, poor attendance or bad timekeeping)
• There was a genuine redundancy
• The continuation of employment would contravene a statute. For example, your work requires you to drive but you have been banned for speeding
• Some other substantial reason that justifies the dismissal.

Unless your employer can prove one (or more) of the fair reasons for your dismissal, then your termination of employment could be seen to be unfair.

Even if an employer does have a ‘fair reason’ they must follow procedure

If your employer proves to an Employment Tribunal that they did dismiss you for a fair reason, they still have to show that they followed the correct procedures as set out in the ACAS code of practice. They must also show that the decision to dismiss you was within a range of reasonable responses they could have taken.

Claiming for Unfair Dismissal

Am I eligiable to claim for Unfair Dismissal?

Generally speaking, only employees who have worked for a company for a minimum of two years can claim for unfair dismissal. However, there are some cases that are deemed automatically unfair and these do not have a minimum employment period.

What are ‘automatically unfair’ dismissals?

Automatically unfair dismissal is directly related to an employee’s rights. While many employees require at least two years’ service before they can bring a claim for unfair dismissal, this requirement does not exist for claims which are held to be ‘automatically unfair’.

Common examples of automatic unfair dismissals include:

• Dismissed for Whistleblowing
• Dismissed for being involved in trade union activities
• Dismissed for asserted a statutory employment right such as maternity or paternity leave
• Dismissed for taking action on a health and safety issue
• Dismissed because of the transfer of your employer’s business (you may be protected under TUPE regulations) • Dismissals for refusal to work over 48 hours on average • Dismissals for insisting on being paid the National Minimum Wage.

In cases of automatically unfair dismissal, the employee only has to show the Tribunal that the dismissal was automatically unfair, once this has been established the case is won.

How do I claim for Unfair Dismissal?

In order to bring a claim in an Employment Tribunal, you must submit your claim within three months less one day from the date of your termination of employment.

If your employer dismisses you with notice then the date of termination would be the date that your notice comes to an end.

If you were dismissed without notice then the date of termination would be the date you were told you had been dismissed.

If you are still unsure on when your employment was terminated, then use the earliest date when you were notified to calculate the time limit and lodge a claim as soon as possible.

ACAS Early Conciliation Scheme

Before you submit a claim to an Employment Tribunal, you must first go through the ACAS early conciliation scheme. ACAS aims to settle disputes before they go to court.

If your claim is valid

If an Employment Tribunal rules unfair dismissal in your favour it can order:

• Compensation in the form of a basic award plus an extra award to account for any financial losses you may have suffered as a result of the dismissal
• That you are reinstated into the post with no loss of money or security
• That you are provided another job with the same employer

If the Tribunal rules in your favour and you’ve been dismissed after 29 July 2013 you’ll be eligible to receive a compensatory award which is made up of either 52 weeks’ pay or £78,335 – whichever is lower as well as a basic award up to a maximum of £14,250.00.. The Tribunal can also adjust the payment up or down by 25% if it finds that either the employee or employer failed follow to the ACAS guidelines. A number of factors can affect any compensation due to you and it is therefore important to speak to our experts as soon as possible.

Does this sound like you? Do you feel like your dismissal was unfair? Our team of experts can help you make a claim. Don’t delay, get in touch with us today for some simple, no nonsense advice.

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