Unfair Dismissal

Employer

Unfair dismissal is one of the most common claims lodged at the Employment Tribunal.

In most circumstances, in order to bring an unfair dismissal claim, your employee must have been employed for at least a year (although if an employee commenced work with you on or after 6th April 2012, that employee must have been employed for at least two years).

In order to successfully defend a claim for unfair dismissal, you will be required to prove that you dismissed the employee for a fair reason. Examples of fair reasons include:

  • conduct of the employee;
  • capability (poor performance) of the employee;
  • the dismissal was part of a properly organised redundancy procedure;
  • breach of a legal restriction (such as the employee not having the legal right to work in the U.K.); and
  • some other substantial reason ‐ this is a catch-all term that allows the employer to argue that the dismissal was fair given all the circumstances.

In any claim for unfair dismissal, you will also be required to prove that you followed a fair procedure. In cases of misconduct, you will have to prove to a Tribunal that you investigated the allegations fully and completelt and that you provided your employee with an opportunity to respond to the allegations in an internal disciplinary hearing. You will also need to show that dismissal was a fair outcome of your investigation and hearing (and that a verbal or written warning was not sufficient). In cases of poor performance you should have been given the chance to improve.

These can be quite difficult hurdles to overcome, and Fosters can advise you during a disciplinary process or, if you receive notice that a former employee is taking you to the Tribunal for an unfair dismissal claim, Fosters can assist you in mounting a vigorous defence.

The above is for general information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice.


Employee

Unfair dismissal is one of the most common claims lodged at the Employment Tribunal.

In most circumstances, in order to bring an unfair dismissal claim, you must have been employed for at least a year (although if you commenced work with your employer on or after 6th April 2012, you must have been employed for at least two years).

This qualifying period of employment will not apply in certain situations, such as:

  • You were dismissed because you asserted a statutory right;
  • You were dismissed for making a protected disclosure, or "whistleblowing" (disclosing to a third party your concerns about the breach of a legal obligation made by your employer);
  • You were dismissed for family reasons (such as because you were pregnant or on maternity leave);
  • You were dismissed because you were a part-time or fixed term employee;
  • You were dismissed for health and safety reasons;
  • You were dismissed because you were a member of a trade union; and
  • You were dismissed for discriminatory reasons (such as your age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief).

Unfair dismissal occurs if your employer dismisses you or you resign because of breaches of your Contract by your employer. In certain circumstances, it may also be an unfair dismissal if you were employed on a fixed term contract and it was not renewed when it expired.

You will only be allowed to bring a claim if you do so within three months (less one day) after the date your employment terminates, so it is important to contact Fosters as soon as possible so that we can advise you properly and bring a claim for unfair dismissal.

The above is for general information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice.

Contacting Us

Fosters Solicitors team of Business & Commercial lawyers have a wealth of experience and knowledge to assist you in relation to any legal query or matter you may have. Call us on 01603 620508 or complete our and a member of the department will be in touch very soon.