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Unfair Dismissal – Know your rights

Aug 18, 2015

Your employer has a responsibility in law to treat you fairly whilst you are at work. This includes following their own policies and procedures. If you are dismissed from your job your employer has to give a good reason for your dismissal and follow their processes.

For example, if you are not performing well at work your employer should tell you this and put a performance improvement plan in place to give you the opportunity to improve. This is covered in the Disciplinary and Grievance policy that should be in place in your workplace and you should have access to this policy.

These policies usually have three stages and should follow the Code of Practice produced by ACAS – the first is a verbal warning, the second a written warning and then a final written warning, with any further issues resulting in dismissal.

There are some occasions where the dismissal reason cannot be fair. Some of these situations are:

  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • Asking for flexible working
  • Being made to retire

In these circumstances, your employer has no right to dismiss you. You may find that your employer finds another reason to dismiss you, but if you know it is linked to one of the above reasons and that your employer did not follow the correct procedure, you may want to take them to an Employment Tribunal.

In addition, there is constructive dismissal. This is where your employer makes it impossible for you to continue working there, but does not directly dismiss you. For example:

  • They don’t pay you
  • They demote you
  • They change your hours suddenly
  • They allow others in the workplace to bully you or harass you

All of these situations would make it impossible for you to continue working there and would result in you leaving. Although you left, you may argue at tribunal that you were constructively dismissed.

With any employment tribunal claim, you have to have worked for your employer for at least two years and you have to make the claim within 3 months of being dismissed.

It is important to speak to a specialist employment law solicitor for specific advice about your circumstances. Please contact Julian Cole, who can help. You can call him on 01264 325805 or email on jcole@bsandi.co.uk.


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