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Unfair Dismissal

Dismissal's occur when an employer terminates an employee's employment contract. Employees need to qualify before they can make a complaint to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.

In order to qualify, the employee needs to demonstrate that there has been at least one year's continuous service if the employment began prior to 6 April 2012.

Alternatively, if employment commenced on or after the 6 April 2012, the employee needs to have been employed for at least two years in order to qualify. However, there is no length of service requirement in relation to 'automatically unfair grounds' in order to have standing to bring a claim.

Dismissals are classed as 'automatically unfair', regardless of the reasonableness, if an employee is exercising specific legal rights, for example:

  • pregnancy: including maternity, paternity leave, and time off for dependants;
  • representative and trade union membership grounds and union recognition;
  • discrimination: including protection against discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender marriage, civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation;
  • pay and working hours: including the Working Time Regulations;

The dismissal could be potentially unfair nonetheless, although not automatically unfair, if the employer does not:

  • have a good reason for dismissing the employee;
  • follow the company's formal disciplinary or dismissal process, including a comparison with ACAS standards.

It is important that all claims for unfair dismissal are lodged within three months of the date of dismissal. Employees should therefore act without delay.

Our team of practitioners at 1ITL are instructed in both ET and EAT cases pertaining to unfair dismissal on behalf of both claimants and defendants. Counsel can be retained at an early stage to asses merits, including advising on damages, and to settle any necessary paperwork.

Our members can also be instructed to provide advice on procedures and processes adopted by employers (including reviewing and / or drafting complaint procedures) to potentially insulate employers against future claims. To that end, members of Chambers area also able to present lectures and training to companies in respect of handling disciplinary, grievances and dismissals.

We accept instructions from solicitors, public bodies and via public access.

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