What is unfair dismissal?
Unfair dismissal is when your employer ends your employment and your employer did not have a fair reason to do so. Even if there was a fair reason, a dismissal can be unfair if your employer did not follow a fair procedure.
When can my employer dismiss me?
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 – e.g. not dismiss you for doing something that they let other employees do.
- Have investigated the situation fully before dismissing you – e.g. if a complaint was made about you.
I have been suspended from work- what can I do?
Suspension is when you continue to be employed but you are forbidden from attending the workplace or carrying out work. Suspension should only be used in serious cases while your employer investigates allegations against you. You should receive full pay during your suspension.
Can I be treated differently if I work part time?
If you’re a part-time or fixed-term employee, you can’t be treated less favourably than a full-time or permanent employee.
What notice should I be given to end my employment?
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.
Can I be dismissed without notice?
There are some situations where you can be dismissed immediately for gross misconduct. Gross misconduct is a serious act which justifies immediate dismissal without notice or pay in lieu of notice. This makes the working relation impossible to continue and is usually used in cases of theft, dishonesty or violence in the workplace.
Can I ask for written reasons for the dismissal?
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 should get this even if you’ve not asked for one and regardless of how long you’ve worked for your employer.
What are the reasons for which I can be dismissed?
There are generally 5 potentially fair reasons for which your employer can dismiss you fairly.
1. Your conduct
In some circumstances your misconduct might warrant a dismissal e.g. dishonesty, failing to obey reasonable instructions, disruptive behaviour.
2. 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 – e.g. a new computer system, you are not meeting expected targets.
Before taking any action, your employer should follow capability or disciplinary procedures – e.g. warn you that your work isn’t satisfactory and give you a chance to improve – e.g. by training you.
3. 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 – e.g. 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 affects your ability to work (which may include long-term illness), your employer has a legal duty to support disability in the workplace.
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.
5. A legal or statutory restriction
You can be dismissed if continuing to employ you would break the law – e.g. if you’re a driver in a lorry firm and you lose your driving licence. In some circumstances, your employer may dismiss you fairly for some other substantial reason which means that you can no longer work for them.
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