Unfair Dismissal

What Is Unfair Dismissal?

An Unfair Dismissal occurs when an employer dismisses an employee for an unfair reason and/or the employer does not follow the correct procedure for the dismissal. Example: If an employee is called into the Manager’s office and informed that his/her services are no longer required, this would amount to an Unfair Dismissal as there is no fair reason for the dismissal and the correct procedure has not been carried out in deciding the employee is to be dismissed. A claim for Unfair Dismissal must be submitted to an employment tribunal within three months less one day from the effective date of termination of the employment (usually the date of leaving the job) unless the tribunal considers this was not reasonably practicable.

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What Is A Fair Reason For Dismissal?

A dismissal is normally only fair if an employer can show that it is for one of the following reasons:

  • A reason related to conduct
  • A reason related to capability or qualifications for the job
  • Because the employee was redundant
  • Because a statutory duty or restriction prohibited the employment being continued
  • Some other substantial reason of a kind which justifies the dismissal

Was The Correct Procedure Followed?

An employer must follow a three stage procedure if they are to dismiss an employee:

  • Make a thorough investigation
  • Advise that they are commencing a procedure which may culminate in their dismissal;
  • Invite the employee to a meeting and inform them of their decision;
  • Allow the employee the right to appeal

When Is A Dismissal ‘Automatically Unfair’?

Dismissals are classed as ‘automatically unfair’, regardless of the reasonableness of an employer’s action, if an employee is exercising specific rights to do with:

  • Pregnancy: including all reasons relating to maternity
  • Family Reasons: including parental leave, paternity leave (birth and adoption), adoption leave or time off for dependants
  • Representation: including acting as an employee representative and trade union membership grounds and union recognition
  • Part-time and Fixed-term employees
  • Discrimination: including protection against discrimination on the grounds of age, sex, race, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief
  • Pay and Working Hours: including the Working Time Regulations, annual leave and the National Minimum Wage

Unfair Dismissal Checklist

  • If you commenced continuous full time employment with your employer before 6 April 2012 the qualifying period to bring a claim for unfair dismissal is 1 year, if however you commenced continuous employment with your employer on or after 6 April 2012, then the qualifying period is 2 years.
  • Was there a fair reason for your dismissal?
  • Was it reasonable for your employer to dismiss you?
  • Was a fair procedure followed?

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