What is unfair dismissal?
Employers are legally allowed to dismiss their employees for a variety of reasons. A dismissal is usually regarded as fair if an employer can demonstrate that the reason for dismissal was related to:
- the employee’s conduct
- the employee’s capability, performance, or qualifications for the job
- a breach of statutory duty or restriction
- some other substantial reason
Employers must also follow the relevant disciplinary or dismissal procedures in a fair and reasonable manner. If employers do not follow the necessary dismissal processes or if the reason for dismissal was not substantial, there is a chance that an employee can claim for unfair dismissal.
A dismissal is deemed ‘automatically unfair’ if the reason for the dismissal is associated with an employee trying to exercise their rights in relation to:
- Family – such as parental or paternity leave
- Pregnancy – including maternity leave
- Working hours and pay – such as annual leave, the minimum wage, and part-time and fixed-time contracts
- Trade union membership, or employee representation
A dismissal can also be regarded as unfair if it meets certain criteria. For example, if an employee is dismissed because of their gender, age, race, sexuality, religious beliefs or marital status, the reason for dismissal is discriminatory and would result in an unfair dismissal.
Who can make a claim for unfair dismissal?
A person may be entitled to unfair dismissal compensation if their dismissal is either discriminatory or considered to be ‘automatically unfair’. The person must also be an employee in order to be eligible to claim for unfair dismissal – a person who is self-employed or an agency worker will not have the right to make a claim for unfair dismissal.
As a general rule, an employee must have been working for their employer for a minimum of two years. However, there are situations where an employee who has worked for their employer for less than two years can make a claim for unfair dismissal, such as:
- health and safety issues
- situations related to pregnancy
- working time regulations
It is important to note that claims for unfair dismissal must be made within three months from the date an employee is dismissed.
How can NA Law Solicitors help?
As specialists in employment law, we can help you if you have been unfairly dismissed. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this article or have specific queries about your employment matter, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free 15-minute telephone consultation.