This article gives you facts and tips about your rights to claim unfair dismissal when your employer has terminated your contract of employment. Download the factsheet pdf here!
FACT: You can ask that your employer gives you the reasons for your dismissal in writing
You normally need 2 years’ service to request this, but if you’re dismissed while pregnant or on statutory maternity or adoption leave, your employer must give you written reasons regardless of your length of service. Your employer must normally give you the reasons within 14 days of your request. If they fail to give you written reasons for your dismissal without a good reason, you can complain to an Employment Tribunal who can award you compensation of up to two weeks’ pay.
FACT: You can claim ‘automatic unfair dismissal’ even if you don’t have 2 years’ service
Normally, you need 2 years’ service to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.
BUT – you can bring a claim for ‘automatic unfair dismissal’, regardless of your period of service, if your dismissal can be linked to the following:
- Time taken off because of pregnancy (appointments and illness related to your pregnancy)
- Parental leave
- Maternity, adoption or paternity leave
- Time off for dependants
- Making a flexible working request
FACT: If your dismissal is not classed as automatically unfair, it may still be classed as unfair
You can bring a claim for ‘normal’ unfair dismissal if:
- there was no fair reason for your dismissal; and/or
- there was a potentially fair reason, but it was not enough to justify dismissing you; and/or
- the employer did not follow a fair procedure
You must have worked for your employer for at least two years to bring a claim for ‘normal’ unfair dismissal.
FACT: If you think your dismissal was unfair, you can challenge this through your employer’s appeal process
FACT: If your appeal is not successful you can access free advice and support which can help you take your employer to tribunal and/or to negotiate with them without going to tribunal
- You can access advice through the Pregnant Then Screwed advice line.
- You can ask your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
- You can ask your trade union (if you have one).
- You can check the LawWorks website (https://www.lawworks.org.uk/legal-advice-individuals) for providers of free advice and representation in employment tribunal matters in England & Wales.
FACT: If you decide to make a claim against your employer for unfair dismissal you must tell ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation & Arbitration Service) before you do anything else.
- ACAS will offer you a service known as ‘early conciliation’. This is a free service undertaken with an independent ACAS adviser and is designed to help you and your employer come to a resolution before your claim goes to a tribunal.