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Unfair Dismissal

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Being dismissed by your employer can have a devastating effect on you and your family. If you believe your dismissal was unfair, you need specialist advice and assistance. Whether your dismissal followed a protracted disciplinary process or came out of the blue, you need specialist legal advice to make sure you know what your options are.

Termination of Employment

The starting point for any potential claim for Unfair Dismissal is that the contract of employment must have been brought to an end. If you resigned your employment, please see the Resignation and Constructive Dismissal section of our website at If your employer has made you Redundant, please see our Redundancy pages to see if that process was fair at

If your employer has ended your employment, then you should consider whether your dismissal was fair. If your employer did not have a good reason for dismissing you and/or failed to follow a fair procedure when doing so you may well have a claim for Unfair Dismissal.

Unfair Dismissal

In a claim of Unfair Dismissal, the onus is on the employer to demonstrate to the Employment Tribunal that they had a fair reason for dismissing the employee and, further, followed a fair procedure in doing so.

Employers can only dismiss employees for a reason which falls in to the categories set out by the Employment Rights Act 1996. Those reasons are:-

  • that the employee lacks capability or qualification for their job
  • that the employee committed an act (or acts) of misconduct which justifies their dismissal
  • that there was a genuine redundancy (please see our Redundancy pages)
  • that continuation of employment would convene a statute
  • some other substantial reason – often used for personality clashes.

In considering the procedure followed, the Employment Tribunal will have regard to the ACAS Code of Practice – Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. They will compare the conduct of your employer against the minimum standards in the Code. In the event the Employment Tribunal considers a fair procedure was not followed, then they may consider your dismissal was unfair.

Who Can Claim Unfair Dismissal?

As a general rule you will need to have been employed by your employer for a minimum of two years to be able to claim Unfair Dismissal. However, there are exceptions to this rule, for example if you have been dismissed because you are a whistle-blower or are dismissed due to pregnancy or maternity leave. There are other exceptions to the two year rule which may apply to you.  For more information, please visit our website at

Also, if you are dismissed close to the two year deadline, but your statutory notice period would take you over that deadline, you can be deemed to have two years service.

It is always worth getting specialist legal advice.  Call us for a free, no obligation enquiry on 01522 440512 or fill out our contact form and one of our specialist, fully qualified Employment Solicitors will call you.

Time Limits

As a general rule, you must submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal within three months of your dismissal. You use the last day of your employment as the first day when calculating the time limit. For example, if your last day of employment was 30th June, your claim would need to be submitted to the Employment Tribunal on or before 29th September. However, please note, before submitting your claim you will first have to go through the ACAS Early Conciliation Process. Employment Tribunal time limits can be extended if you are going through the conciliation process when your Employment Tribunal time limit would normally expire. However, if you do not start the ACAS Early Conciliation Process within the normal time limit, you will not receive any extension to submit your claim.

Employment Tribunal time limits are incredibly strict and if you have been dismissed you should seek legal advice immediately. Claims submitted “out of time” will not be accepted by the Employment Tribunal and in those circumstances your ability to pursue your claim will be lost. It is therefore important that if you have a workplace concern or issue, you take legal advice as soon as possible.

Next Steps

If you think you have been dismissed unfairly, call us for a free, no obligation enquiry on 01522 440512 or fill out our contact form and one of our specialist, fully qualified Employment Solicitors will call you.

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