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What you should know if you wish to make a claim for unfair dismissal

Published 06 June 2022

If you are unjustly sacked from your job you are likely to claim it is an unfair dismissal  - but is it really?

You will righty feel aggrieved in such circumstances, but it does not always mean you can make such  a claim to an employment tribunal.

Whether or not you are legally permitted to do so will depend on a number of factors.

Unfair dismissal is when your employment contract is terminated, with or without notice [1 cited 6.6.22]

It occurs when the reason for dismissal is not one of the statutory fair reasons, or if it is for a statutory fair reason, but your employer has acted unreasonably in deciding to dismiss for that reason.

The injustice of being unfairly dismissed would anger anyone who has suffered that fate and knowing exactly what your legal rights are to challenge it is crucial.

To make a claim for ordinary unfair dismissal, you have to have two years’ service or more with your employer. You also have to be classed as an employee.

There are three main types of employment status under the Employment Rights Act 1996: worker,  employee and self-employed [2 cited 6.6.22] An employee works under an employment contract.

If you are an employee with less than two years’ service, you can still make a claim if your contract is terminated for an automatically unfair reason.

Automatically unfair dismissals, for which you do not need the qualifying period of service, include  [3 cited 6.6.22]

  • The decision is linked to a protected characteristic covered by the Equality Act 2010 e.g. your race, disability, religion, pregnancy or maternity [4 cited 6.6.22]

 

 

Whatever the reason for dismissal, e.g. disciplinary, redundancy or capability, you should always ensure you comply and adhere to your employer’s formal process to deal with the matter.

This is particularly important if you wish to claim unfair dismissal after being dismissed following a disciplinary process.

If you believe you have been treated unfairly, you should raise a grievance in relation to any unfavourable or discriminatory treatment linked to your dismissal and appeal against the decision to terminate your contract. It will give your employer an opportunity to review your case and address or correct anything it has got wrong.

The grievance and appeal procedures are covered in the ACAS Code of Practice [7 cited 6.6.22] If you fail to  adhere to the Code’s guidance it could mean a tribunal reduces any compensation awarded to you by up to 25 per cent.

Once you have exhausted your employer’s process that deals with the reason for your dismissal, you  must tell ACAS first before making a claim to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.

Any claim for unfair dismissal must be made within three months less one day of the date your employment ended. That date is generally the last day of your notice period or the date of dismissal if your employer did not give notice.

When you inform ACAS you wish to make a claim, it will offer you 'early conciliation'[8 cited 6.6.22]

ACAS will talk to both parties with the aim to reach an agreement without having to go to tribunal, as the service aims to resolve employment disputes before they reach a court.

If conciliation proves unsuccessful you will be issued with a certificate with a number on it. You will need the number for an ET1 form, which you use if you decide you still want to make an unfair dismissal claim to an employment tribunal.

If you are unjustly sacked from your job you are likely to claim it is an unfair dismissal  - but is it really?

You will righty feel aggrieved in such circumstances, but it does not always mean you can make such  a claim to an employment tribunal.

Whether or not you are legally permitted to do so will depend on a number of factors.

Unfair dismissal is when your employment contract is terminated, with or without notice [1 cited 6.6.22]

It occurs when the reason for dismissal is not one of the statutory fair reasons, or if it is for a statutory fair reason, but your employer has acted unreasonably in deciding to dismiss for that reason.

The injustice of being unfairly dismissed would anger anyone who has suffered that fate and knowing exactly what your legal rights are to challenge it is crucial.

To make a claim for ordinary unfair dismissal, you have to have two years’ service or more with your employer. You also have to be classed as an employee.

There are three main types of employment status under the Employment Rights Act 1996: worker,  employee and self-employed [2 cited 6.6.22] An employee works under an employment contract.

If you are an employee with less than two years’ service, you can still make a claim if your contract is terminated for an automatically unfair reason.

Automatically unfair dismissals, for which you do not need the qualifying period of service, include  [3 cited 6.6.22]

  • The decision is linked to a protected characteristic covered by the Equality Act 2010 e.g. your race, disability, religion, pregnancy or maternity [4 cited 6.6.22]

 

 

Whatever the reason for dismissal, e.g. disciplinary, redundancy or capability, you should always ensure you comply and adhere to your employer’s formal process to deal with the matter.

This is particularly important if you wish to claim unfair dismissal after being dismissed following a disciplinary process.

If you believe you have been treated unfairly, you should raise a grievance in relation to any unfavourable or discriminatory treatment linked to your dismissal and appeal against the decision to terminate your contract. It will give your employer an opportunity to review your case and address or correct anything it has got wrong.

The grievance and appeal procedures are covered in the ACAS Code of Practice [7 cited 6.6.22] If you fail to  adhere to the Code’s guidance it could mean a tribunal reduces any compensation awarded to you by up to 25 per cent.

Once you have exhausted your employer’s process that deals with the reason for your dismissal, you  must tell ACAS first before making a claim to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.

Any claim for unfair dismissal must be made within three months less one day of the date your employment ended. That date is generally the last day of your notice period or the date of dismissal if your employer did not give notice.

When you inform ACAS you wish to make a claim, it will offer you 'early conciliation'[8 cited 6.6.22]

ACAS will talk to both parties with the aim to reach an agreement without having to go to tribunal, as the service aims to resolve employment disputes before they reach a court.

If conciliation proves unsuccessful you will be issued with a certificate with a number on it. You will need the number for an ET1 form, which you use if you decide you still want to make an unfair dismissal claim to an employment tribunal.

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