The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
Unfair Dismissal

Unfair Dismissal UK

There are rules to protect employees from having their employment ended 'unfairly'. You may be eligible to claim at an Industrial Tribunal if you were dismissed unfairly.

UNFAIR DISMISSALS: Most employers follow Acas guidelines to dismiss staff 'fairly'.

But, your employees could still claim for unfair dismissal if they think:

All dismissal cases fall subject to a test of fairness and must follow a fair procedure. Those cases which do not are often ruled as being unfair.

Automatically unfair reasons for dismissal

Despite acting 'reasonably' there are some dismissal reasons that get classed 'automatically' unfair. They relate most to these areas of employment:

Related Information: Check out the full list of reasons for Unfair Dismissal 'Automatically'.

Note: As a rule compulsory retirement (on the grounds of age) is unlawful unfair dismissal. The exception could be if you can 'objectively' justify it - but this could get challenged at a tribunal.

Official 'Lawful' Industrial Action

An automatic unfair dismissal would occur if you fire someone for participating in lawful industrial action:

Note: Only a tribunal can determine whether you took reasonable steps to resolve the dispute.

You may decide to 'lock out' your employees for taking industrial action. Locking them out means you prevent them from accessing their usual workplace.

As a rule you can achieve a lock-out by locking the doors. But, you cannot include any days of the lock-out into the calculation of the 12-week protected period.

Dismissing Staff with a Disability

What happens if a disabled employee is unable to do their job? There are occasions where it may be fair for you to dismiss staff with a disability or illness. In most cases you would need to show that no reasonable adjustments can take place to keep them employed.

Political Beliefs and Political Groups

Generally, it is not automatically unfair to dismiss staff because of their political beliefs. The same also applies if they belong with a political group. But, in some cases a tribunal might rule it as an unfair dismissal.

Note: The rules changed on dismissals due to political opinions or affiliation as of 25 June 2013. Since then, there is no qualifying period for someone going to an employment tribunal.

Unfair Dismissal Penalties

There are penalties for employers who dismiss staff unfairly. If proven, a tribunal might order you to:

In some cases, the tribunal may order you to pay compensation. As a rule the amount of compensation depends on the employee's:

Failing to follow a tribunal order to reinstate someone often means paying extra compensation. But, there is an upper limit on the amount a tribunal can award for unfair dismissal. The exceptions would be cases relating to health and safety or whistleblowing.

Note: Whereby you unfairly dismiss someone for taking action on workplace health and safety grounds.

Eligibility to Claim Unfair Dismissal

Employees must work for a qualifying period to claim unfair dismissal. The exception would be if they claim for an automatically unfair reason.

Unfair Dismissal Qualifying Period

Cannot Claim Unfair Dismissal

The legal right to make a tribunal claim for unfair dismissal is unavailable to:

Tribunals for unfair dismissals determine the facts known to the employer at the time of dismissing the employee. They also find out whether their response was reasonable. As a rule, compensation gets awarded for an unfair dismissal and made with two components.

Basic Payment Award

Basic award for an unfair dismissal gets calculated as a payment of the number of years worked. It is then multiplied by the claimant's weekly pay according to their age. This process works like statutory redundancy payments.

The final figure is often adjusted with an extra compensation award. This helps to meet any incurring financial losses by the claimant.

Maximum Payment Award

UK employment laws govern maximum compensation awards. The upper payment award and current statutory limit is £78,335 or one year's pay, whichever is the lowest figure.

A Tribunal can order the reinstatement of your working position with your employer. Further upward adjustments of compensation may be due for non-compliance by your employer.

Unfair Dismissal at Work