Unfair Dismissal

Protection from unfair dismissal is intended to safeguard employees from being dismissed from their job without a valid and justifiable reason. 

In general, a case can only be brought against you under unfair dismissal law if your employee has been working for you for at least 103 weeks and 1 day, unless they are dismissed for reasons such as:

As unfair dismissal is a statutory rather than common law, the cases which can be considered as unfair dismissal are very tightly defined. Many cases which may be considered to be clear examples of unfair dismissal can also be dealt with through a different area of employment law, such as discrimination or whistle-blowing legislation. such as discrimination or whistle-blowing legislation.

An employment judge will consider at employment tribunal whether the employer's decision to dismiss the employee falls within a reasonable range of responses of a reasonable employer.  Although in theory the burden of proof in unfair dismissal cases is neutral, in practice it tends to fall on the employer.  Examples of potential unfair dismissals include: unfair selection for redundancy; where a performance improvement plan has been executed too quickly;  the employee has been set unachievable targets; where a dismissal is an unreasonable sanction given the misconduct or where the employee is treated inconsistently in comparison to other employees. That said, as with all cases, each case is considered on its own facts. 

Another form of unfair dismissal is if you have committed what is regarded by the employment tribunal as a fundamental breach of contract, thereby making your employee’s position untenable and effectively forcing them to resign. This is known as constructive dismissal.

As with all cases dealing with unfair dismissal law, each case must be considered according to its individual circumstances. You may wish to negotiate a settlement with your employee if you feel they have a possible claim against you, and this can be done by way of a settlement agreement in order to preclude them from making any claims against you.

If you would like more detailed information about unfair dismissal, Ashby Cohen can help you. We specialise in employment law cases, and our years of experience as employment lawyers make us especially qualified to assist you with any unfair dismissal issues you may have. Please contact us for an initial free telephone consultation.

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