It is unlawful for your employer to dismiss you unless it is for a permitted reason and a fair procedure has been followed.
There are five potentially fair reasons for dismissal:
- Your conduct.
- Your capability.
- Because your role is redundant.
- If employing you would be illegal –for example where an employee does not have the necessary work permit.
- For "some other substantial reason”. This is a fair reason that does not fall under the other categories. For example it may be fair to dismiss you if you have been working on a temporary contract to cover someone’s maternity leave.
In cases of misconduct or poor performance, your employer should comply with the ACAS code of practice. Failure to do so may lead to a finding of unfair dismissal and the Employment Tribunal may increase compensation payable to you by up to 25% if the failure was unreasonable.
For all other types of dismissal, including redundancy, there is still a requirement to follow a fair procedure.
Generally, you must have two years' service with your employer in order to claim unfair dismissal. However, certain dismissals are automatically unfair and it does not matter how long you have been employed for.
Awards for an unfair dismissal claim include a basic award (calculated like a statutory redundancy payment) and a compensatory award.
Compensatory awards in ‘ordinary’ unfair dismissal claims are capped at the lower of a years’ salary and £78,335. However, some unfair dismissal claims have no cap on them and so the amount that can be awarded is unlimited. These claims include dismissals due to whistleblowing and discrimination claims.