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Issued on 24th October 2010
The law on unfair dismissal does no more than give employees a legal
right to be treated in the way in which a fair and reasonable employer
would treat them anyway. For an employer to dismiss an employee fairly,
he or she must both:
a) have a valid reason for dismissing the
b)act reasonably in treating that reason
as a sufficient reason for dismissing the employee.
Criteria to satisfy for unfair
To qualify or to bring an unfair dismissal
claim in the Employment Tribunal an employee must meet a number of
1. They must be an employee (rather than
self-employed or, in the majority cases working though agency).
2. They must normally have at least one
year's continuous employment
3. They must be aged 65 or below (or the
normal retirement age for that particular position)
4. They must be in employment in Great
5. They are within the 3 month time limit
for bringing a claim to the Employment Tribunal
Is the dismissal fair?
The Employment legislation lists five
specific types of reason which can justify dismissal. I have listed
This is by far the most common reason for
dismissal and the one which leads to the largest number of complaints
of unfair dismissal.
This is where the employer will argue that
the employee is unable satisfactorily to do or does not have the
qualifications for the job.
In general, an employee can have no
grounds for claiming unfair dismissal if the dismissal was because of
redundancy that is because the employer had no work or insufficient
work for the employee to do.
4. A Statutory Requirement
This may prevent the
employment continuing, for example where a lorry driver has lost his
driving licence and there is no other suitable job available for them.
5. Some other Substantial Reason
It may be argued that the above reasons
are likely to cover almost every case where dismissal is necessary.
However there may be situations which arise for example, where an
employer has a good reason for dismissing an employee which is not one
of those listed above. An example would be where an employee was
employed on the basis of medical cover for another employee who was off
sick and is returning to work.
Has the employer acted reasonably?
It is not just enough for the employers to
argue the above reasons, they will need to show evidence to the
tribunal that they have acted reasonably. For example if dismissing on
the ground of conduct, when considering if this is a fair ground will
look at what the conduct of the employee was, whether they had been
given prior warning and so on.
Tribunal when deciding whether an employer
has acted reasonably in treating the chosen potentially fair reason as
a sufficient reason for dismissing the employee will look at the size
and administrative resources of the employer and the substantial merits
of the case.
Although there are many grounds on which
an employer may be able to rely on when dismissing a emloyee, however
they will need to show to the tribunal that they have acted reasonably.
If you have been dismissed by your employer and are unsure whether you
have a valid claim or not, you are recommended to seek legal advice.
Rashidul Islam is a
Trainee Solicitor with
Lawdit Solicitors and can be contacted by email on
About the Author
Lawdit Solicitors offer services and
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agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-11-01 15:23:40 in Legal Articles