Unfair dismissal, at its most basic, is the termination of an employment contract by an employer who has no fair reason for his actions. Other grounds for unfair dismissal can include things like the employer failing to follow correct dismissal procedure or dismissing an employee for an automatically unfair reason.
Although claims for unfair dismissal are generally relevant to people who have been employed by their place of work for a minimum of 12 months, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if an employee has been discriminated against in the workplace, they can make a claim for unfair dismissal regardless of how long they have been there.
Fair grounds for dismissal
There are five main reasons for fair dismissal. Should you proceed with a claim against your employer, he/she will aim to prove the dismissal was based on one or more of the following fair reasons:
- Redundancy – employers cannot make haphazard redundancies. There must be a clear policy in place and if that policy is followed, the employer can argue the dismissal was fair.
- Capability – the employer will try to prove that you either turned out to be incompetent or that you lacked the relevant qualifications in relation to the work you were expected to carry out.
- Breaking the Law – violating the law – regardless of whether the incident happened during or outside of working hours – is another fair reason for dismissal.
- Conduct – lack of proper conduct includes a wide spectrum of things. Your employer can claim the dismissal was fair if you were proven to be guilty of things like lying, theft, harassment, persistent lateness, racist behaviour etc.
- Any other reason – an ambiguous reason which can encompass a wide range of things, each case must be judged and evaluated on an individual basis
Automatic Unfair Dismissal
There are some reasons for dismissal that are automatically deemed unfair. If you are dismissed for trying to exercise one of your statutory employment rights, you are entitled to claim for unfair dismissal. Your rights include:
- The right to maternity, paternity or adoption leave
- The right to a minimum notice period
- The right to parental leave
- The right to not be discriminated against because of your gender, race, sexual orientations, disability, age or religion
- The right to time off for public duties such as jury service
- The right to time off for antenatal care
If these or any other employment rights are violated, we can help you build a successful case for unfair dismissal. With years of expertise, our solicitors have significant experience in dealing with all types of unfair dismissal cases. For further information or advice, feel free to call us for a no obligation chat on 0800 328 3823 or visit our contact page.