FAQs about Employment Law


What is unfair dismissal?

Unfair dismissal can either be automatic or contested.  Dismissals are automatically considered unfair where the dismissal is based on the employee:

  • Using their statutory entitlement to paternity/maternity leave
  • Exercising their statutory rights to be a member of a trade union and engage in industrial action
  • Exercising their statutory rights to make a complaint or bring a claim to an employment tribunal
  • Revealing information in the public interest according to the Public Disclosure Act 1998

Contested unfair dismissal covers a wider range of circumstances, such as discrimination in the workplace under the Equality Act 2010.

What else is required for unfair dismissal claims?

You must have continuously worked for your employer, either on a part-time or full time basis, for a year or longer and you must be below the age of 65 (unless your employer customarily forces employees to retire at a later age).  If you worked for the police or armed forces, you will not be able to claim unfair dismissal.

What is the legal effect of a dismissal being automatically classed as unfair?

If a dismissal is automatically classed as unfair, the employer will be under a duty to show that the particular reasons cited did not apply.

What is constructive unfair dismissal?

Constructive unfair dismissal occurs where the employer has made the workplace intolerable for the employee and the employee finds it impossible to continue working.  If, for example, an employee has to stop working due to harassment or bullying that the employer has not tried to prevent, then this is potentially a case of constructive unfair dismissal.

Will I qualify for redundancy?

To qualify for redundancy, you have to have continuously worked for a particular organisation for two years or longer and that organisation is closing down or ceasing or severely curtailing the work you do.

What types of discrimination are prohibited under the Equality Act 2010?

Under the Equality Act 2010, discrimination against persons possessing certain ‘protected characteristics’ is prohibited.  Protected characteristics include age, race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities and gender reassignment.  Discrimination can come in several forms: direct and indirect discrimination.

I’ve just started a new job.  Does my employer have to give me an employment contract or anything like that?

Your employer is legally obligated to provide you with a “statement of employment” containing the main terms of your employment, such as the location of your workplace, the hours and days you work and pay.

What’s involved with the employment tribunal process?

Firstly, you need to make an application to the tribunal service stating the particulars of your case.  Forms can be collected from local magistrate courts.  If your claim is accepted, details of the case will be sent to your employer and a preliminary hearing date will be set.  If the case cannot be settled, the case will go to a full hearing.  Whilst waiting for a full hearing, the tribunal service will encourage both sides to try and mediate and settle the issue through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.  If the issue cannot be settled, the case will go to a full tribunal hearing.

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