Unfair Dismissal – Your Questions Answered

you're firedGenerally speaking, in life your main concern is likely to be both your own and your family’s health and wellbeing.  If that’s in place then our next focus tends to be our jobs.

It makes sense – most of us (unfortunately!) spend the majority of our time each week working.   Many of us are lucky enough to enjoy what we do for a living – many of us far from enjoy it! But either way, we all work to pay the bills and have money for the things we want to do in life.

Should things go wrong at work, it often causes worry and stress but, what can you do?  

Worst case scenario: You are sacked by your employer.

You may ask yourself:-

“How will I pay the bills?

”How will I get another job?” 

“How can they do this to me?”

The Jobs and Benefits Office can help with the first two questions but I can help with the third.

If you are asking yourself how they can do this to you, you are also probably thinking that the reason and how you were sacked was unfair. Unfair dismissal is by far the most common query I deal with, but that does not in itself make it straightforward problem.

I have listed some of the most common queries below should you find yourself in this position:-

Do I have the right to claim unfair dismissal?

In order to claim that you were unfairly dismissed, you must firstly have worked for at least one year with your current employer – if you haven’t you unfortunately don’t have the right to make a claim. There are exceptions to this rule (for example, if you feel you were discriminated against) however the general rule is that if you’ve been in your job less than one year, you can’t claim unfair dismissal.

Is my dismissal unfair?

Whether a dismissal is unfair depends on whether the employer had a fair reason to end your employment. If they did have a fair reason to dismiss you, it must also be considered whether the matter was dealt with fairly. If you believe that neither the dismissal nor the way it was dealt with was fair, you may have a claim against your employer.

What is a fair reason for dismissal?

An employer can fairly dismiss an employee for one of the following reasons

  • Capability – it was thought that you were not capable of doing the job
  • Conduct – you have behaved in a way that makes it reasonable for you to be dismissed
  • Redundancy – your job is no longer required
  • Some other substantial reason – for example, business re-organisation.

It is for your employer to show what the reason for the dismissal was.

In addition to showing that the dismissal was fair and reasonable, your employer would also have to show that a fair procedure had been followed.

Is there a time limit for making a claim?

Yes, a claim for unfair dismissal must be brought within 3 months of the date of your dismissal. This is a short and strict time limit! You should therefore seek advice as soon as possible once you have been dismissed as otherwise a potential claim may be out of time and you would be prevented from taking a case against your former employer.

MGavinThis guest blog comes from Mary Gavin, Associate Solicitor in the Employment Law Department of Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors.  If you have any further questions about unfair dismissal or require any further advice on this area, Mary Gavin can be contacted at Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors or by email on mgavin@fhanna.co.uk

As always, we love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to leave us your comments below.


3 thoughts on “Unfair Dismissal – Your Questions Answered

  1. Pingback: LIFE BITE: Making False Declarations to Your Employer | Life Law NI

  2. Pingback: LIFE BITE: Lord Behaving Badly : Gross Misconduct in the Workplace? | Life Law NI

  3. Pingback: Redundancy: What An Employer Needs To Know | Life Law NI

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