Essential information for UK employers about dismissals – Part 2

In our last blog, we discussed the different cases of fair dismissal in the UK. This week, we will be looking at unfair dismissals. Unfair dismissal differs from wrongful dismissal. Wrongful dismissals are cases where an employer breaks the terms of an employee’s contract in the dismissal process. An example would be failing to give the proper notice of dismissal. In this case, the firm’s disciplinary process has not followed proper procedures.

Even if employers think that a dismissal has been undertaken fairly, they could still receive claims if the individual thinks that the reason involved wasn’t the real one, the reason was unfair or that the employer acted unreasonably.

Automatically unfair dismissals

There are some reasons which are classes as being automatically unfair, such as:

–   Pregnancy and all reasons related to maternity.

–   Family (parental leave, adoption leave etc.)

–   Acting as an employee representative

–   Acting as a trade union representative

–   Joining or not joining a trade union

–   Being employed part-time or fixed-term.

–   Discrimination (based on age, race, religion, belief, sexual orientation etc)

–   Pay and working hours

–   Whistleblowing

It is not automatically unfair to dismiss someone because of their political beliefs, however, a tribunal may find this unfair.

Penalties for unfair dismissals

If a tribunal finds that the employer has not followed a proper disciplinary process and has unfairly dismissed an employee, they may have to either reinstate them into their role or re-employee the person in another job. Compensation may also have to be paid to the employee. The size of compensation is based on the age of employee, gross weekly earnings and the length of service.

Extra compensation can be requested if the employer does not follow the tribunal order to reinstate an employee unfairly dismissed.

The awards for unfair dismissals are usually limited, except in cases related to health & safety or whistleblowing.

Eligibility to claim unfair dismissal

Unless claiming for an automatically unfair reason, employees may be able to claim unfair dismissal if they’ve worked for a qualifying period.

If the employment started before 6 April 2012, the claim can be made after the first year of employment. If the employment started after 6th April 2012, the claim could be made after 2 years of employment.

There are some exceptions whereby a person may not be able to claim unfair dismissal, which include:

–   Self-employed people

–   Independent contractors

–   Armed forces

–   Employees under an illegal contract

–   Employees taking part in an unofficial industrial action

–   Police staff

Need further guidance on dismissals? Don’t hesitate to ask for help!

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment