What Do You Do If You Are Unfairly Dismissed?


Being fired from your job can be a huge shock and it can often feel unfair, the legal term for losing your job is ‘dismissal’. Your employer is allowed to dismiss people but if they do this to you unfairly you can challenge a dismissal.

To find out if your dismissal is unfair you will need to check what your employment status is as your rights will depend on if you’re an employee or not. You will also need to check how long you have worked for the company as you can only claim unfair dismissal if you have worked for your employer for two years or more and finally whether the law says the reason for your dismissal is unfair.

You will need to check this quickly as you have three months less a day from your last month of employment to start taking action for an unfair dismissal. Before you do this you may want to check a few things.

Check Your Employment Status

You are only able to challenge a dismissal if you can show that it has actually happened. You have been properly dismissed by your employer if you have ended your contract of employment, with or without notice, refused to renew your fixed term contract, made you redundant, including voluntary redundancy, you have been dismissed for going on strike or your employer has stopped you from coming back to work after maternity leave.

You have not been dismissed if you have been suspended, you resigned by choice, you were pressured to hand in your notice or your employer did something that was a serious breach of your contract and you didn’t want to accept it.

Your employment status means whether you’re an employee, this includes fixed and part time employees. You do not have the right to claim an unfair dismissal if you are:

  • Self-employed
  • An agency worker or class as a ‘worker’
  • A police officer or are in the armed forces
  • A registered dock worker
  • Working overseas for a foreign government
  • A share fisherperson

Have You Been Dismissed For An Unfair Reason?

Your employer should tell you why you are being dismissed. If you are pregnant or have worked at your company for at least two years then you have the right to get a written explanation, this should be by letter or email.

The law says it’s always unfair if you’re dismissed because of an automatically unfair reason or discrimination. If your dismissal is because of one or both of these reasons then you can challenge it.

What Is An Automatically Unfair Reason?

It is an automatically unfair reason to be dismissed if your dismissed for being pregnant or are on maternity leave, you have asked for your legal rights at work, you took action about a health and safety issue, you work in a shop or a betting shop and you refused to work on a Sunday, you are a trade union member and took part in trade union activities induding official industrial action or you were acting as an employee representative and finally if you have reported your employer for wrongdoing.

If you have worked for your employers for at least two years when your job ends it is also automatically unfair if you are dismissed because the business was transferred to another employer or you didn’t declare a spent conviction. Your employer can still dismiss you if you are in these categories but it cannot be the reason you are dismissed.

Are You Being Discriminated Against?

You can also challenge your dismissal if it’s because your employer has discriminated against you. It might be discriminate if you believe you were dismissed because you are pregnant, on maternity leave, married or in a civil partnership, are from a particular race, ethnicity or country, disabled, transgender or other.

You May Have Been Dismissed Fairly

We understand it can be hard to swallow but if you have worked for your employer for at least two years when your job ends your dismissal could genuinely be fair. There are 5 reasons for dismissal that are classed as fair:

  • You’re not capable of doing your job
  • You’ve behaved badly
  • There is a legal reason why your employer cannot keep you on
  • Your role is redundant
  • Other

A situation like this isn’t black or white but we hope the above information has helped to make your case a lot clearer.

Ratcliffes Solicitors has worked in the legal industry for over twenty years. We specialise in employment law in Sittingbourne.

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