In most cases employees require 2 years’ continuous service to enable them to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. There are exceptions though which can catch employers out. With claims for unfair dismissal the employee has to show that there has been a dismissal - which is not usually in dispute. It is then for the employer to convince an Employment Tribunal that the dismissal was for a potentially fair reason. Typically, this might be for a reason of misconduct, incapability (including sickness), redundancy or a catch all known as “some other substantial reason”. If one of these potentially fair reasons is established it is then for the Tribunal to decide whether or not the dismissal was fair considering all of the circumstances including the size of the employer. The larger the employer, the more carefully it has to proceed. A winning employee can obtain a Basic Award which equates to a redundancy payment, plus compensation of up to one year’s pay capped at approximately £80,000.
We frequently advise employers about adopting appropriate processes and procedures to ensure that any dismissal is a fair one.
We also act for employees advising upon the merits of bringing a claim and in pursuing a claim itself, including representation at an Employment Tribunal.