Has your employment been terminated without fair reason? Has your employer failed to follow the correct dismissal process?

If you feel this is the case, you could be eligible to make an unfair dismissal claim against your employer. Read on to find out more about unfair dismissal in the workplace and call us on 0808 164 0808.

What is unfair dismissal?

If you are “let go” by the company you work for, and they fail to provide fair reasoning for this decision, this would be classed as unfair dismissal by law. You are also protected by the law if your employer terminates your contract without following the correct dismissal procedure. This should be outlined in your contractual documents.

If you have been employed continuously for at least two years you will be entitled to certain legal rights, including the right not to be dismissed without fair reason. In the event of a dismissal, your employer must prove that the reasoning falls under one of the categories set out by the Employment Rights Act 1996, which are listed below:

  • Capability or qualifications: being unable to fulfil your job requirements, or being dishonest in your qualifications to gain the position.
  • Conduct: this includes misdemeanours such as theft of company property or information, taking time off without permission, abusive or degrading behaviour or persistent lateness.
  • Redundancy: when making redundancies, employers must stick to the rules set out by the government, and cannot single people out for redundancy without proper justification.
  • Breaches of statutory provisions: A dismissal may potentially be fair if allowing the employee to continue working would mean that the employer or the employee is in breach of a statutory provision. An example of this would be if you broke the law and could no longer fulfil a main part of your job role, like losing your driver’s license when your job requires you to drive. Another example would be that the continued employment would breach immigration rules.
  • Any other substantial reason: this covers the less obvious ways you might be unfairly dismissed. It includes conflict with important clients, or refusing to work with a particular colleague or particular workload that is central to your job.

What sort of scenarios would be considered unfair dismissal?

You may be wondering about actual situations where somebody could be unfairly dismissed. These unfair reasons can differ depending on your workplace, but below are some common scenarios:

  • Requesting time off to fulfil jury service
  • Joining a Trade Union
  • Being forced to take compulsory retirement without justification
  • Requesting flexibility with working hours and/or setup
  • Refusal to give up working time rights, for example to take rests or breaks
  • Applying for maternity, paternity or adoption leave/being on maternity, paternity or adoption leave
  • Whistleblowing (exposing wrongdoing in the workplace)
  • Trying to receive Working Tax Credits

Note: if you take your employer to tribunal over unfair dismissal and they try to prove fair reasoning for any of the above scenarios, it will be up to the employment tribunal to make the final decision regarding your claim.

How long do I have to claim unfair dismissal?

The standard time limit for issuing an unfair dismissal claim is 3 months, less one day from the termination of your employment. You must act quickly.

It’s important to seek the advice of our legal professionals as soon as you can, even if you’re not sure about whether your situation classifies as unfair dismissal. Then, the next step in the process where we may be able to help is getting in touch with ACAS, to start proceedings with your employer being asked for a potential “early conciliation”. In certain circumstances, our legal team can assist you in the ACAS process, or help you bring a tribunal claim following discussions with ACAS.

Can I claim unfair dismissal during probation?

It’s in every employer’s best interests to avoid the risk of unfair dismissal claims, and probationary period dismissals are no exception. While the law states you have to have worked with your employer for at least two years before you can claim unfair dismissal, there are types of dismissal that do not require this length of service or reduces the length of service requirement. These types of claims would be categorised as automatic unfair dismissal.

Your employer cannot dismiss you during your probationary period on the grounds of discrimination against any of the following characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Religion/belief
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Pregnancy or maternity
  • Gender reassignment
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

You can also claim unfair dismissal if you’ve been penalised for whistleblowing during your probationary period.

If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, whether it’s during your probationary period or thereafter, get in touch with our team today. You can call us free on 0808 164 0808 or request a call back.