Unfair dismissal and redundancy
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Unfair dismissal claim
Most employees who have at least two years’ continuous service are entitled not to be unfairly dismissed. For those with this right, a dismissal is likely unfair if it is without a fair reason or reasonable procedure. An employee who is unfairly dismissed can seek compensation from an employment tribunal.
A dismissal is automatically unfair if it is for one of a number of prescribed reasons, including whistleblowing, health and safety activities or pregnancy and maternity leave. This applies to all employees, no matter how short their period of employment. Protection against all forms of discrimination also applies from the time you make an application for a job to after you have left and are reliant on a reference.
If an employee’s contract of employment does not specify a notice period, they are entitled to a reasonable period of notice if dismissed. In any case, the employee is entitled to at least the statutory minimum notice period of one week after one month’s employment. After this, entitlement increases at the rate of one extra week per year, to a maximum of 12 weeks after 12 years’ employment.
If you are dismissed without the right notice, this is wrongful dismissal and our employment lawyers can advise on any compensation claim you might be entitled to.
Breach of contract
If you believe your employer has breached your contract, we can advise you on the most appropriate action to take. For example, an employee can claim constructive dismissal if their pay is reduced without agreement or they are told to resign.
Employees who are made redundant are only entitled to claim redundancy pay if they have at least two years’ continuous service. Tax is not payable in respect of statutory redundancy pay.
In general terms, being made redundant means that the job will have disappeared. Also, the employer must select employees for redundancy on a fair and objective basis, after reasonable consultation and with adequate notice.
If you have been unfairly dismissed by means of redundancy, our employment law experts can advise you of your rights and what action to take.
If you feel that you have been unfairly dismissed because of a transfer of business, you should try and raise the matter by way of your employer's internal procedures. If this doesn't resolve the issue, you ultimately have the right to complain to an employment tribunal if you have been employed continuously for two years or more.
If you were employed immediately before the transfer (or if you would have been had you not been unfairly dismissed for a reason connected with the transfer) you have automatically become an employee of the new employer, unless you objected to being transferred and informed either employer. Your continuity of employment is not broken, and you keep all the rights and obligations that you had under your contract of employment with your previous employer.
Employees can refuse to transfer (or "opt-out"), but depending on the circumstances of the case, they may lose valuable legal rights if they do. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) state that "all the transferor's rights, powers, duties and liabilities under or in connection with the transferring employees' contracts of employment are transferred to the transferee".
This all-embracing concept encompasses rights under the contract of employment, statutory rights and continuity of employment and includes employees' rights to bring a claim against their employer for unfair dismissal, redundancy or discrimination, unpaid wages, bonuses or holidays and personal injury claims, etc.
Our employment lawyers can advise employees on their rights under the TUPE provisions and can assist with any claims of unfair dismissal that may arise as a consequence.