McPartland Solicitors discuss unfair dismissals and what actions you can take to challenge the decision.

Employment Law: Unfair Dismissals in the Workplace

Losing your job can come as a huge shock and may often feel unfair. While all employers have the right to dismiss their employees, they may do this unfairly. This may be why you were dismissed or the process they used. If this is the case, you can challenge the dismissal however, you will need to provide evidence such as an official letter or communication from your employer. Additionally, you must check your employment status as it is required that you are employed for a minimum of one year before you challenge the dismissal. We have outlined some key information you should know about unfair dismissals in the workplace.

What Counts as an ‘Unfair Dismissal’?

Before you challenge the dismissal, it is important to ensure that it can be appropriately classified as unfair. There are a number of reasons why your dismissal could be unfair. These may include your employer not having a fair reason for dismissal or failing to follow the correct procedure. If you have been dismissed for any of these reasons, you will be able to make a claim to the Industrial Tribunal. Find out more about what counts as an unfair dismissal.

What Is an Automatically Unfair Dismissal?

If you have been dismissed for exercising or trying to exercise one of your statutory employment rights, you have been automatically unfairly dismissed. Reasons may include:

  • Joining a trade union
  • Asking for flexible working
  • Refusing to give up your working time rights e.g. taking breaks
  • Needing time off for jury service
  • Applying for maternity/paternity/adoption leave
  • Exposing wrongdoing in the workplace (whistleblowing)
  • Being forced to retired

If you have been dismissed for any of these reasons, you are not required to have a minimum of one year’s service and can claim from your first day of employment.

What to Do If You Have Been Unfairly Dismissed?

Before making a formal complaint, you should try to resolve the issue with your employer. If you reach a ‘compromise agreement’ with your employer and agree not to make an unfair dismissal complaint, then you will not be able to bring it to an Industrial Tribunal. However, if the situation can’t be resolved, then you can make a claim within 3 months of being dismissed.

If your claim is successful, then you will usually be awarded compensation. The amount you receive will be based on the money you have lost since being sacked. Only those who have claimed for unlawful discrimination will be compensated for other reasons. You may also be offered the opportunity to return to your job. You don’t have to accept the offer however; the compensation may be lower if you refuse.

If you have been dismissed and feel that it was unfair, it is important that you find an experienced solicitor who can provide you with support and advice about your rights. At H McPartland & Sons, our team of employment law specialists have an excellent track record of resolving disputes within the need of a tribunal. Contact our offices in Lurgan or Lisburn and talk to a member of the team to find out how we can help you.