Why have I been dismissed?
Being dismissed from work can be hugely stressful and upsetting. Here are some common questions and answers which might help you.
Q: What is dismissal?
A: Dismissal is when your employer ends your employment – they don’t always have to give you notice.
Q: When can my employer dismiss me?
A: If you’re dismissed, your employer must show that they have a valid reason for the dismissal that they can justify and show that they acted reasonably in the circumstances.
They must also:
Be consistent – eg not dismiss you for doing something that they let other employees do
Have investigated the situation fully before dismissing you – eg if a complaint was made about you
Q: Can I be treated differently if I work part time?
A: If you’re a part-time or fixed-term worker, you can’t be treated less favourably than a full-time or permanent employee.
Q: What notice should I be given?
A: You must be given at least the notice stated in your contract or the statutory minimum notice period, whichever is longer. The minimum is 1 week per year of employment if you have worked with the employer for over 2 years. After one month’s service you should be given at least 1 weeks’ notice.
Q: Can I be dismissed without notice?
A: There are some situations where you can be dismissed immediately – eg for gross misconduct.
Q: Can I ask for written reasons for the dismissal?
A: You have the right to ask for a written statement from your employer giving the reasons why you’ve been dismissed if you’re an employee and have completed 2 years’ service.
Your employer must supply the statement within 14 days of you asking for it.
Your employer must give you a written statement if you’re dismissed while you are on Statutory Maternity Leave. You get this even if you’ve not asked for one and regardless of how long you’ve worked for your employer.
Q: What are the reasons for which I can be dismissed?
A: There are some situations when your employer can dismiss you fairly.
In some circumstances your misconduct might warrant a dismissal eg dishonesty, failing to obey reasonable instructions, disruptive behaviour.
Not being able to do your job properly
You may not be able to do your job properly if, for example, you haven’t been able to keep up with important changes to your job – eg a new computer system, you are not meeting expected targets.
Before taking any action, your employer should follow capability or disciplinary procedures – eg warn you that your work isn’t satisfactory and give you a chance to improve – eg by training you.
Sickness and illness
You can be dismissed if you have a persistent or long-term illness that makes it impossible for you to do your job.
Before taking any action, your employer should look for ways to support you – eg considering whether the job itself is making you sick and needs changing and give you reasonable time to recover from your illness.
If you have a disability (which may include long-term illness), your employer has a legal duty to support disability in the workplace.
Dismissal because of a disability may be unlawful discrimination.
Redundancy is a form of dismissal and is fair in most cases when there is a genuine redundancy situation and a correct procedure is followed.
If the reason you are selected for redundancy is unfair then you will have been unfairly dismissed.
A ‘statutory restriction’
You can be dismissed if continuing to employ you would break the law – eg if you’re a driver in a lorry firm and you lose your driving licence.