We are warning that the deadline for employees who have been unfairly dismissed to bring a claim against their former employer is just three months.
Our team issued the warning in the wake of widespread reporting of an increase in Employment Tribunal claims.
There are a number of reasons for dismissal which are automatically regarded as being unfair, such as pregnancy, making a protected disclosure or asserting a statutory right.
Meanwhile, employers are usually able to fairly dismiss an employee for their conduct, genuine redundancy, insufficient capability or qualifications, breaking the law or for some other ‘substantial’ reason which clearly justifies their dismissal.
Samantha Randall, an Employment Law specialist, said: “Dismissals will usually be deemed ‘automatically unfair’ if the reason behind the dismissal relates to an employee simply exercising their rights, such as joining a trade union, whistleblowing or taking action on a health and safety issue.
However, she said that in some cases, the distinctions between fair and unfair dismissal might not be so clear-cut.
“Even if the reason you have been dismissed would usually be deemed ‘fair’, such as poor conduct, for example, an Employment Tribunal might consider your dismissal ‘unfair’ if your employer did not act reasonably, for example if they have not followed fair disciplinary procedures before letting you go,” Samantha said.
Owing to such complexities, Samantha said that anyone who feels they have been dismissed unfairly should seek professional advice.
“If the employer did not follow a reasonable procedure during the dismissal process, it might be possible to take legal action against them and seek compensation,” she said.
However, Samantha warned that employees must have held their job for at least two years prior to being dismissed, or they would not have earned the right to challenge their employer unless their dismissal is deemed to be automatically unfair in which case requisite service is not always necessary.