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If you feel you have been dismissed unfairly, Lewis Nedas Law can help. We are employment law experts based in London with a broad range of experience in unfair dismissal cases.

When is Dismissal Unfair in the UK?

Dismissal from work in the UK occurs unfair when:

  • An employer fails to follow the correct procedure for dismissing an employee (e.g.. an employee is sacked on the spot without first undergoing the correct process.)
  • There is no valid reason for the dismissal.

There are some situations in which dismissal is automatically unfair. Employees have certain legal rights which cannot be interfered with – if the dismissal stems from claiming these rights then it will be automatically unfair.

All employees have the right to:

  • A written statement of the terms of their employment
  • A written breakdown of remuneration
  • A minimum notice period for termination of employment
  • Parental leave (maternity/paternity leave)
  • To request flexible working practices
  • Pay, even if no work is available
  • Time off for public service (jury duty, for example)
  • “Whistleblow” (make a disclosure in the public interest)

In addition, an employee is protected against discrimination and against unlawful deductions from their pay.

If an attempt to enforce these rights is met with dismissal, then the employee can take their employer to a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

Retirement and Unfair Dismissal

It is no longer lawful for your employer to dismiss you because you have reached statutory retirement age. If you are of retirement age and you are released on the basis of your age, you may be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal.

Have I been Unfairly Dismissed?

There are a number of factors which must be taken into account when deciding whether or not a dismissal is unfair.

These are:

Employment Status

Employees need to have the legal status of ‘employee’ before unfair dismissal can be claimed. This excludes those on short-term contracts, those who are self-employed and anyone ‘employed’ in a freelance or consultancy role. In practice, it may not be immediately apparent whether a person holds the legal status of ‘employee’, particularly given the wide and varied types of roles available in businesses today.

Length of Employment

If your employment began before April 6th 2012, then you must have been employed for at least one year before you can claim unfair dismissal. If your employment began after that date, then you must be employed for at least two years.
What Amounts to ‘Dismissal’?

Dismissal is:

  • Reduction of working hours in breach of contract
  • Termination of employment without notice
  • Refusal of re-employment after industrial action such as a strike or walk out.
  • Refusal of re-employment after parental leave
  • Forced resignation
  • Constructive dismissal – this occurs when continued performance of your job is made impossible.
  • A contract coming to an end.

Redundancy & Dismissal

Some situations do not count as dismissal. These are:

  • Resignation or quitting of the employees own free will – employers will often argue that this was, in fact, the real reason or termination of employment.
  • Leaving by mutual agreement
  • Suspension with pay
  • Withdrawal of an offer of employment
  • A change in your or your employers circumstances which prevents you from working there.  

Dismissal from work – the procedure:

An employee must have not only a valid reason for dismissing an employee, they must follow the proper procedure.

The ACAS code of practice applies to dismissals occurring after 6th April 2009. This is not binding, although it is best practice for employers to follow it. If they do not, employees may be able to claim extra compensation.

The code of practice specifies that an employer should:

  • Write to the employee setting out the reasons for which dismissal or disciplinary action are being pursued.
  • Arrange a meeting with the employee, at which the employee is entitled to representation by a colleague or representative
  • Inform the employee of any decision in writing.
  • Allow an appeal against the decision
  • If the decision is dismissal, a notice period, or pay in lieu of notice should be given.

Unfair Dismissal – Three Month Time Limit

Claims for unfair dismissal in the UK must be brought within three months of the relevant date. This relevant date is either the date of dismissal or the final day of the notice period.

Employment Law - Information on Fees

For information on fees and funding relating to Employment Law cases, please see our information page.

Contact our Employment Solicitors for Unfair Dismissal Legal Advice

If you have been dismissed from your work and you think it was unfair, or if you are an employer defending a legal claim for unfair dismissal, contact Lewis Nedas Law for expert employment law advice call us on 020 7387 2032, or complete our online enquiry form

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