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Unfairly Dismissed? Here is What You Can Do!

Unfair dismissal is a significant issue that many employees may face during their careers. Understanding what constitutes unfair dismissal, how to identify it, and what steps to take can empower you to seek justice and protect your rights.

What is Unfair Dismissal?

Unfair dismissal occurs when an employer terminates an employee's contract without a fair reason or without following the proper process. According to the Employment Rights Act 1996, for a dismissal to be fair, it must be due to one of the following reasons: capability, conduct, redundancy, statutory illegality, or some other substantial reason.

Example of Unfair Dismissal 1: Jane, a dedicated employee, was dismissed without any warning or valid reason after she announced her pregnancy. This is considered automatically unfair as dismissals related to pregnancy are protected under the law.

Example of Unfair Dismissal 2: John was dismissed for raising safety concerns about hazardous working conditions. This dismissal is automatically unfair because it relates to health and safety issues, which are protected under employment laws.

Steps to Identify if You Were Unfairly Dismissed

  1. Check the Reason for Dismissal: Identify if the reason given by your employer falls under the fair reasons outlined by the Employment Rights Act 1996. Automatically unfair reasons include dismissal due to pregnancy, whistleblowing, or participation in trade union activities.

  2. Examine the Process Followed: Ensure that your employer followed a fair process. This includes conducting a thorough investigation, giving you an opportunity to respond to allegations, and allowing you to appeal the decision.

  3. Length of Service: Typically, you need to have worked for your employer for at least two years to claim unfair dismissal. However, for automatically unfair reasons, this qualifying period does not apply.

  4. Written Explanation: If you have the right to a written explanation for your dismissal, request it from your employer. They must provide this within 14 days of your request.

Steps to Take to Seek Justice

  1. Appeal the Dismissal: Start by using your employer’s internal appeal process. This step is crucial as it shows that you tried to resolve the issue internally.

  2. Seek Legal Advice: Consult with an employment lawyer to understand your rights and the strength of your case. Organisations like Citizens Advice and Caseguru's AI-assistant can also offer initial information.

  3. Contact ACAS: The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) provides free and impartial information to both employers and employees. They can help you with the process of making a claim and may offer early conciliation to resolve the dispute without going to a tribunal.

  4. File a Claim with an Employment Tribunal: If internal appeals and conciliation fail, you can file a claim with an employment tribunal. Remember, there are strict time limits for making a claim—usually three months minus one day from the date of dismissal.

  5. Prepare Your Case: Gather all relevant documents, including your employment contract, dismissal letter, and any correspondence related to your dismissal. Collect evidence that supports your claim, such as witness statements or records of your performance.

  6. Calculate Compensation: Understand the types of compensation you may be entitled to, including a basic award and a compensatory award. The latter covers loss of earnings and other benefits like pension contributions or medical insurance.

By following these steps, you can navigate the challenging process of dealing with unfair dismissal. Seeking justice not only helps you get the compensation you deserve but also holds employers accountable for their actions.


At Caseguru, we specialise in connecting individuals with top employment solicitors. What's even better is that you can consult with many of them for free, gaining expert advice and understanding your rights before committing any money. This ensures that all the stress is managed effectively. Our goal is to hold your employer accountable, allowing you to focus on your well-being and future.

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