In economic times such as these, employers, facing lower profits or even losses, often have to make difficult decisions regarding staff. Unfortunately, some employers attempt to circumvent employment laws when downsizing in order to lower costs.
Employees do have rights, however; if an employer doesn’t follow the correct procedure when dismissing an employee, it could be what is known as an unfair dismissal.
If you have been dismissed, or fear that you will be, it is crucial that you are aware of your rights as all employers are required to follow lawful procedures. If these have not been conformed with, you may be entitled to compensation.
Have I been unfairly dismissed?
Dismissals can take different forms:
- Unfair dismissal
- Constructive dismissal
- Instant dismissals
Unfair dismissal is one type of dismissal and can occur when your employer:
- Failed to follow set procedures when dismissing you
- Did not provide a fair reason for why you were dismissed
- Dismissed you on an automatically unfair ground, which is the case if your employer dismissed you for exercising your statutory rights
If your employer dismissed you because you were attempting to enforce your statutory employment rights, then you may be able to make a successful claim at an Employment Tribunal. However, these processes can be difficult, and in order to ensure that your interests are looked after you may want to seek legal advice.
If your employer failed to comply with dismissal procedures or failed to give a reasonable ground for their cause of action, then your employer will still be in the wrong. However, the process for proving fault can be complex and if you don’t have the necessary expertise in employment law you may struggle with presenting your claim.
As an employee you have the right to not be unfairly dismissed, but there are instances in which your employer may lawfully dismiss you. For example, your employer is entitled to dismiss you if you frequently fail to show up for work without a valid reason for your absence or if you are stealing from the workplace.
I am confident that I have been unfairly dismissed, what should I do?
In order to make a claim for unfair dismissal, additional to the points mentioned above, you must have been in continuous employment with your employer for a set period of time. This time threshold varies depending on when you started working for your employer. If your contract of employment commenced prior to April 6th 2012, you must have been with your employer for 12 months before being able to make a claim for unfair dismissal. If your employment started after this period, the qualifying period is set at two years.
Claiming compensation for unfair dismissal can be a complicated process, which is often stressful and rather unsatisfactory until a successful result is seen. Legal help can be a very useful form of guidance and support through such a process, but you should always ensure that you are aware of your employment rights and attempt to solve any matters amicably with your employer.