Dismissal and your rights

One of the most common reasons for both employers and employees to seek legal advice regarding an Employment issue is due to disputes regarding dismissals.  Because the relationship has more often than not completely broken down by the time an action for dismissal is made, it is pertinent for both parties to engage an experienced legal professional to manage dismissal matters in order to protect both reputations and future career opportunities.

Our Employment team offers over 60 years’ combined experience in Employment and commercial law.  By offering personalised, one to one service, we will ensure that any dispute regarding a dismissal is dealt with in a cost-effective, efficient manner so you can move onto the next stage of you career or business strategy.

Unfair and unlawful dismissal

The Employment Rights Act 1996 regulates the way that employers and employees relate when an employee’s position could be terminated. In order for a dismissal to be fair an employer must have a good reason to dismiss and also follow a fair process in doing so.

An employer must prove they have a fair reason to dismiss an employee. Fair reasons include:

  1. Capability or qualifications;
  2. Conduct;
  3. redundancy;
  4. Statutory requirements; and
  5. Other substantial reasons.

On the other side there are protected grounds on which a dismissal is never fair, these grounds are:

  1. Pregnancy;
  2. Union activity (including industrial action);
  3. Family leave;
  4. Employment status (part-time or full-time);
  5. Discrimination on a number of grounds including:
  • Gender;
  • Age;
  • Religion; and
  • Many others
  1. Whistleblowing; and
  2. Pay and work times.

You have the right to request written reasons for your dismissal from your employer if you have been employed for two or more years.

The next step after establishing a fair reason to dismiss is to look at whether the dismissal was justified; was it reasonable for the employer to dismiss the employee in light of the circumstances? For a dismissal to be unreasonable it would have to be outside the range of options that a reasonable employer would consider. This means that that there is no one ‘reasonable’ action but rather a range of actions.

The employer must also follow the employer’s own procedure for dismissal, for example the employer must give notice.

A claim for unfair dismissal must be lodged within three months of your last day of Employment, if you believe that you have been unfairly dismissed this time limit should be foremost in mind.


Constructive Dismissal

Constructive Dismissal is when the actions of your employer give you no option except to leave your Employment. The actions must be serious and not trivial reasons. Examples include failing to pay wages, non-compliance with health and safety, and unreasonable changes of Employment terms or conditions.

The essence of a constructive dismissal claim is that your employer effectively dismissed you through their actions; normal changes to Employment terms or communication problems will not carry a constructive dismissal claim.

A claim for constructive dismissal must be lodged within three months of your last day of Employment and is only available to employees who have been with the employee for two or more years.


Please note the information on this page relates only to employees and not to other forms of Employment, such as independent contracting. For information relating to this or other dismissal issues highlighted on this page please call us to make an appointment on 0203 959 9123 or  fill in our contact formand we will be in contact in a manner that suits you. 


For a more detailed discussion regarding your case, or to book an appointment with a member of our Employment Law team, please call us now on 0203 959 9123 

Your Questions & Our Answers about Dismissal and your rights

Ask Our Experts A Question

Your question will be processed by us in accordance with our Legal Notice and Privacy and Cookies policy. By submitting a question, you consent to such processing and you warrant that all data provided by you is accurate. We reserve the right to display your question.'
The answer will be e-mailed to you.
if you would like us to call you back with a more detailed answer.

Vertical Tabs