What is unfair dismissal?
Under the UK law, unfair dismissal is described as dismissing an employee without a fair reason.
There are however 5 reasons for a fair dismissal:
- Poor conduct
- Lack of capability or qualifications
- A statutory duty or restriction that forbids employment from continuing—such as when a courier suffers a driving ban.
- Some other substantial reason that explains the dismissal.
With that being said, these are the types of unfair dismissal:
- A reason that the employment tribunal deems to be “automatically unfair”.
- Dismissal without a fair dismissal procedure.
Generally, employees can only claim unfair dismissal against an employer if they have a minimum of two years’ service. In 2012, the qualifying period increased from one to two years. This presents employers with some level of flexibility in managing and dismissing staff with less than two years’ service
Reasons that are automatically unfair
If an employee’s statutory employment rights are violated, dismissing them is automatically unfair. If the dismissal is based on any of the following reasons, the dismissal is also automatically unfair:
- Matters of maternity
- Trade union membership
- Paternity leave
- If the employee refuses to give up rights under the Working Time Regulations 1998. For example, if they won’t give up a rest break.
- One of your employees tries to exercise their right to receive the national minimum wage.
Any form of discrimination is also automatically unfair if an employee suffers from unfair treatment due to one of their “protected characteristics”. Protected characteristics are:
- Sexual orientation.
- Gender reassignment.
- Religion and belief.
- Marriage and civil partnership.
- Pregnancy and maternity.
In order for an employer to dismiss an employee fairly they must follow the correct procedure. The procedure requires the following steps to take place:
- An informal chat with a note for improvement.
- A verbal warning.
- First written warning.
- Final written warning.
If however gross misconduct has taken place, the employer has the right to proceed straight to a dismissal. Information in relation to gross misconduct and dismissal should be covered in your employers policies and procedures.
What Happens During A Plea Hearing for Unfair Dismissal?
When an employee is being informed of the outcome of a disciplinary hearing it is recommended that this should be done in writing and proof of receipt is kept.
In this correspondence, explanation of what the employee did wrong should be explained and the reason as to why the employer has decided to move ahead with their outcome. If an employer does not follow the disciplinary procedure then they leave themselves open to an employee appealing the case.
Claims at the Employment Tribunal for Unfair Dismissal
All tribunal fees were abolished by the Supreme Court in July of 2017. This has led to a more than 118% increase in tribunal claims.
The maximum amount that you can be awarded as compensation for Unfair Dismissal is presently the statutory cap of £88,519, or 52 weeks gross salary- whichever is the lower. This is in addition to the basic award which can be ordered by the Tribunal of up to a maximum of £16,140. These figures are from 6th April 2020.
At Versus Law we offer a free initial consultation and are happy to answer any questions you may have about any form of work dismissal. Call us today on 0161 249 5087 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org