Fired? - Unfair Dismissal

Unfair dismissal occurs when an employer dismisses an employee:

  • Without a fair reason
  • Without following the correct procedure
  • For an automatically unfair reason

If you have been dismissed for one of these reasons, you may have an unfair dismissal claim and be able to recover compensation from your employer.

Fair reason

Your employer is perfectly entitled to dismiss you from your job if they have a fair reason. Fair reasons for dismissal include a gross breach of contract, such as stealing from your employer, or gross misconduct, such as subjecting another colleague to sexual or racial harassment.

A fair reason does not have to be for a gross breach of contract or gross misconduct. For example, if you persistently turn up late to work or miss days, your employer will have a fair reason to dismiss you as they can call this behaviour a breach of contract or a conduct issue. Your employer is also entitled to dismiss you if you don’t have the capability to perform your job.

Correct procedure

Your employer must use the correct procedure to dismiss you. If they do not, you may have an unfair dismissal claim against them.

There is no procedure set in law that employers must use to dismiss you; however, employers are strongly advised to follow the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance. This is because Employment Tribunals will take into account the level of compliance with the Acas Code of Prcatice, and can increase the amount of your compensation by up to 25% if your employer has failed to follow it.

Part of the Acas Code of Practice is to invite you to a meeting to discuss your dismissal. You should also have the chance to appeal your employer’s decision and you are entitled to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative at the meetings.

Automatically unfair reasons

There are a number of reasons for dismissal that the law considers to be automatically unfair. Your employer should not use these reasons to dismiss you. If they do, you will have a claim for unfair dismissal.

The reasons include:

  • If you are pregnant or on maternity leave
  • If you have tried to enforce your statutory employment rights, such as the right to the minimum wage or the right to not have unlawful deductions made from your wages
  • If you have joined a trade union or refused to join a trade union
  • Any reason that is discriminatory, for example because of your race, religion, colour, gender, sexual orientation or disability
  • If you have made a public interest disclosure or ‘blown the whistle’

If you think you may have an unfair dismissal claim, it’s really important that you get legal advice form an employment solicitor soon as there is a three month deadline on making a claim. The three month window for making a claim begins from the date your dismissal actually occurred.

Job Justice can help

If you are facing dismissal or have recently been dismissed, and you feel like you need some legal advice, we can put you in touch with one of our specialist employment solicitors. Simply call us for free on 0800 533 5799 or fill in our online contact form and we’ll be in touch to discuss your situation.

 

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