If you believe you were dismissed unfairly from your job, you may have a case for unfair dismissal. However, understanding what this means is important if you wish to challenge your employer. If your employer had a just reason that was sufficient to justify your dismissal, and if they followed the fair and full procedure, you may not be able to bring a case against them. However, understanding your rights is key.

An Automatically Unfair Dismissal

There are some things that are automatically deemed to be unfair if they are the primary reason for your dismissal. These include:

  • Pregnancy or being away from work on your maternity leave.
  • Making a request for flexible working.
  • Wanting to take parental, adoption, or paternity leave.
  • Participating in official, legal industrial action for a period of 12 weeks or under.
  • Being a representative or member of a trade union.
  • Asking for one of your legal rights e.g., to receive minimum wage.
  • Having to do jury service.
  • Compulsory retirement.
  • Involvement in whistleblowing activities.
  • Proposing or taking action over an issue relating to health and safety.

Other Unfair Dismissal Claims

If your employer has not followed the appropriate procedure, you may have an unfair dismissal case, even if their reason for your dismissal was valid. If you feel you have no other option but resign due to something serious done by your employer, constructive dismissal could apply to you.

Making An Appeal

If you believe you were unfairly dismissed and want to challenge your employer, you can do so through the employer’s own appeal process. You may also speak to your trade union if you’re part of one or obtain professional legal advice.

If you believe you were dismissed unfairly due to a “protected characteristic”, e.g., your race, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or age, you may have a case for discrimination as well as one for unfair dismissal.

Wrongful dismissal is another possibility. This occurs if your employer has breached your contract, usually in relation to notice pay or length of notice. If you were dismissed with no notice, a shorter notice period than you were entitled to, or no notice pay, this could apply to you.

Employment Tribunal

If you’ve tried appealing but want to go further, you may be able to take the matter to tribunal. If you have employment status as an employee and have worked for your employer for two years, you have the right to take this action.

If you’ve been dismissed for a reason that is “automatically unfair”, you were “wrongfully dismissed”, or if the matter relates to discrimination, it doesn’t matter if you’ve worked for your employer for a shorter period of time.

How To Make Your Claim

You must make your claim within three months less one day of the date on which your employment ended. You must let ACAS know you wish to claim, and you will be offered “early conciliation”. This free service involves ACAS discussing the matter with both you and your employer so you may be able to reach an agreement with no need to progress to tribunal. If this fails, you can then seek legal advice and take the matter further.