Employment Law Unfair Dismissal

Unfair Dismissal

The experience of being dismissed by your employer, or of leaving them after a workplace dispute, is always unpleasant. But if this is what has happened to you, you may be able to take legal action against your employer and seek compensation.

As a leading firm of employment solicitors, we can help. We have a successful track record of representing employees at all levels in disputes against their employers, and can advise you whatever your own specific circumstances. Our experienced specialists are expert in matters relating to discipline and grievances, unfair dismissal, discrimination, harassment, redundancy, compromise agreements, contracts of employment, bullying, TUPE, restrictive covenants, parental rights, information and consultation. We will give you an honest assessment of your rights and likely chances of success if you proceed to an Employment Tribunal or Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Certain types of dismissal are automatically considered unfair, such as if you are a woman who has been dismissed for a reason related to a pregnancy. In other cases an employer may dismiss an employee if there is a potentially fair reason such as:

  • Redundancy.
  • Misconduct.
  • Capability, including long-term or excessive sickness.
  • Illegality.
  • Other reasons such as restructuring.

However, where employers have not dismissed an employee for an acceptable reason, or where they have not followed the correct procedure, then the employee may be able to bring an unfair dismissal case. For example, if dismissal has been related to poor performance then the employee concerned should have received warnings in advance and been given a chance to improve – only in cases of extremely serious misconduct will a dismissal without warning be justified legally.

If you would like to talk to one of our experienced solicitors about your own specific circumstances, or have another employment issue you would like to discuss, then please contact us on 03702 188 990 or e-mail [email protected].

In the meantime you may be interested to know:

Gross misconduct

This is a term used to describe an action so serious that the relationship of trust and confidence between an employer and an employee is completely undermined. Examples will normally be given in the disciplinary procedure but are likely to involve issues as serious as theft or fighting. In this case an employer may dismiss an employee without giving notice. However, if a proper investigation and correct procedure is not carried out before a decision to dismiss is taken, then the dismissal may be regarded as unfair.


A dismissal occurs when an employer terminates employment with or without notice. Notice is normally given or confirmed in writing but it may still be valid if given verbally. In some situations an employee may feel forced to resign because of their employer’s actions (see constructive dismissal below). The non-renewal of a fixed-term contract also constitutes a dismissal.

Constructive dismissal

In some situations the actions of an employer may fundamentally undermine the relationship of trust and confidence so that an employee may be entitled to regard him or herself as dismissed and resign. The employee has to resign in response to the breach and without too much delay. This is known as “constructive dismissal”.

Qualifying employment and exceptions to the two year rule

To have the right to claim unfair dismissal there are certain qualifying conditions. For example, it is necessary to be an employee rather than self-employed (although sometimes people who are supposedly self-employed may be able to establish that they are an employee in reality). Another vital qualifying condition is to have two years’ continuous service at the time the employment is terminated (or slightly less in some limited circumstances).  There areimportant exceptions to the two-year qualifying period such as if the dismissal is related to a woman’s pregnancy or if it is for a health and safety related reason.


For further information or a discussion about your particular circumstances, contact our team on 020 7377 2829 or email [email protected].