5 Steps To Prove Unfair Dismissal Before Making Claims
Losing your job is the worst situation you can ever encounter. The financial implications are daunting, but there is much more to worry about. Your personal life may go haywire as you feel stressed and wronged if the dismissal is unfair.
Luckily, you can challenge the employer for sending you off for the wrong reasons. But before filing a claim, make sure that your dismissal falls in the unfair category.
While you may feel that you have been wronged, you cannot consider termination unjust according to your judgment. It is crucial to understand the situation and go ahead with the claim because you have only three months less a day after termination to start an action against your employer.
Here are some factors that enable you to decide whether you have a genuine claim.
1. Ensure dismissal in the first place
You cannot challenge a dismissal unless it actually happened. Someone who resigns by choice cannot claim a wrongful step by the employer. However, the following are the cases of dismissal by an employer-
- Ending your employment contract with or without notice
- Refusal to renew a fixed-term contract
- Dismissal for going on strike
- Making you redundant, even if it is voluntary redundancy
- Stopping you from returning after maternity leave
You will have to provide evidence to validate these situations. These include an official termination letter, text messages, or emails from your employer.
Even voluntary resignation may be considered unfair if your employer pressurizes you to hand in your notice or makes a serious breach of your contract. These situations count as constructive dismissal.
2. Understand your employment status
Essentially, your employment status defines your position in the company. You may be an employee, a worker, or a self-employed professional.
You can claim unfair dismissal as an employee, whether working part-time or fixed-term. However, you cannot challenge the employer if you work as an agency worker or a self-employed professional.
Other exceptions include registered dock workers, share fisherpersons, police officers, armed forces personnel, and people employed overseas or for a foreign government.
You can consult a legal expert to seek clarity on your employment status and understand your rights. You may ask your employer to reconsider dismissal if you do not have the right to claim.
3. Check the reason for dismissal
Perhaps the most crucial element of the process is to check the reason for the employer’s action. According to the law, an automatically unfair reason or discrimination means that your employer is on the wrong side.
You must go ahead with the Unfair dismissal claim without second thoughts. Your employer must tell you the reason for dismissing you.
You also have the right to seek a written explanation if you are pregnant or have worked for the employer for at least two years. It may be in the form of a letter or email. Here is a list of automatically unfair reasons for dismissal-
- You took action regarding a health and safety issue at your workplace
- You demanded your legal rights at work
- You’re pregnant or on maternity leave
- You participated in trade union activities as a member
- You refused to work on a Sunday
- Your employer was reported for wrongdoing (whistleblowing)
You may not be sure about these situations. So it makes sense to seek guidance from an expert.
Besides automatically unfair reasons, here are some situations when you can claim due to discrimination by your employer-
- You are pregnant or on maternity leave
- You’re married or in a civil partnership
- You belong to a particular gender, sexual orientation, race, country, or ethnicity
- You’re younger or older than the people you work with
- You are disabled
- You follow a particular religion or set of beliefs
If you believe that your employer has dismissed you due an automatically unfair reason or discrimination, use your right to challenge them.
You need not even think about how long you have worked for the organization. Conversely, you will not have the right to challenge the decision if dismissed due to a different reason and worked for the company for less than two years.
4. Cross-check for a reason that may be fair
While you can challenge your employer for dismissing you on unfair grounds, it may not always be the case.
There are some potentially fair reasons for employers dismissing their employees. You may end up wasting your time and effort in these situations. Here are the possibilities of fair dismissal.
- You are incapable of doing the job, such as falling sick often or not delivering optimal performance
- Guilty of gross misconduct, violence, or criminal activity in the workplace.
- Your role in the organization is redundant because of valid reasons
- You cannot be retained due to a legal issue, such as losing your right to work in the UK
- Your employer can validate the action with some other substantial reason which may not be set out in law but is good enough
5. Consider additional factors
Employee dismissal is not black and white when it comes to deciding whether it is fair or unfair. You must consider additional factors and details of your case to decide.
Here are some instances to bear in mind –
- Whether the employer has treated other employees in similar situations in the same way
- Have they taken appropriate action to address the issue, such as trying to overcome performance problems by training you
- Whether they have followed a just procedure to assess the problems before dismissing you
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Deciding whether your dismissal is fair or not is not an easy task. You have to consider several things before challenging your employee.
But ensure not to give up on your rights only because the situation seems daunting. You must consult an expert and enforce your rights to protect yourself against an unfair action by your employee.
After all, you should not pay only because your employee has a personal agenda against you.