Legal Advice After an Unfair Dismissal

Being dismissed from a job can not only impact on your immediate financial status but may also have an effect on your future employability. It’s important to know what your rights are when it comes to situations like this.

If you feel that you have been unfairly dismissed, then you may have cause to take your case to an employee tribunal and claim compensation.

What is Unfair Dismissal?

Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, you have a right not to be dismissed unfairly, in other words your employer must show that you were sacked for one of the following reasons:

  • You were not capable of doing or were not qualified to undertake the job you were employed to do.
  • You were made redundant.
  • You were dismissed because of the way you conducted yourself. This could mean you were often late or had acted dishonestly, for example.
  • Something happened such as losing your driving licence that meant you could not undertake your duties.

There can be other reasons why you were dismissed which can be considered fair. This could include if the business was going through a restructure and you wouldn’t accept certain reasonable changes.

If you go to tribunal, your employer has to prove that one or more of these reasons was a factor in your dismissal. Even if they can do this, the tribunal will still make a determination of whether it was fair or not. There is a certain process that your employer will need to have gone through before dismissing you and it’s important that this is followed. For example, if you were made redundant they would need to have an appropriate consultation and selection processes.

Unfair dismissal is not the same as wrongful dismissal. The latter happens when an employee is dismissed against the terms of their employment contract. An example would be if you were dismissed without notice when the terms of your contract stated that you should be given two weeks’ notice.

Automatic Unfair Dismissal

To qualify for unfair dismissal, you need to have been working continuously for your employer for a period of 2 years. You also need to make your claim for unfair dismissal within three months of being let go.

There are certain circumstances when unfair dismissal is considered automatic and no qualifying period is needed. These include:

  • Being dismissed because you asked for a statutory right such as maternity leave.
  • The dismissal was connected to a health and safety issue that you had become aware of.
  • You were taking part in activities with or for trade unions.
  • You acted as a whistle blower on the company.
  • The company changed hands and you were dismissed against current TUPE regulations.
  • You were dismissed because of your ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or because you have a disability.

For many employees who have been unfairly dismissed, going to a tribunal can be a daunting experience so it always pays to have the right legal advice and get the support that is needed. At Forster Dean, we have the experts in place who will be able to advise you on the best course of action, including whether you should proceed to a tribunal or not. Contact us today to find out how we can help.