Losing your job can be a stressful and upsetting experience whatever the circumstances. If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed it can be even worse but there may be steps you can take. If you need advice, you can visit an advice service like the Citizens Advice Bureau, consult your union if you belong to one or seek UK employment law advice from a company like The Co-operative.
Can I claim unfair dismissal?
In general you must have been working for the same employer for at least one year if you started before 6 April 2012 or two years if you started on or after 6 April 2012. You must be an employee (i.e. not a freelancer or independent contractor) and, of course, you must be able to show that your dismissal was unfair.
If you are dismissed due to redundancy, your own misconduct or because you are incapable of doing your job, your dismissal may be deemed as fair. If you disagree with your employer’s reasons you can still pursue a case and, in cases of redundancy, certain procedures have to be followed.
In most cases employers are obliged to follow certain steps under the ACAS Code of Practice before dismissing an employee. If you are ‘fired’, your employer is normally required to write to you setting out the reasons they are considering a dismissal, arrange a formal meeting and allow you to appeal.
If you have grounds and wish to take your case to a Tribunal, the Tribunal will make a ruling on whether the dismissal was fair or unfair. Circumstances that may constitute grounds for dismissal include (but are not limited to):
Not being retained when ownership of your employer’s business is transferred
If your employer says you are incapable or unqualified to do the job
If you have failed to declare a spent conviction
If your employer is questioning your conduct
If you feel you have been forced to resign, this can count as constructive dismissal. In practical terms, this is the same as unfair dismissal and you may be liable to receive compensation.
In order to successfully claim constructive dismissal an employee needs to show that the employer committed an extremely serious breach of contract and that they (the employee) resigned promptly and as a direct result of that breach.
This is a guest post for TheEmployable