Have you been Unfairly Dismissed?

Have you been Unfairly Dismissed?


Being employed is one of the most important aspects of our lives and being dismissed by an employer is naturally a worrying experience. With uncertain times ahead in terms of finding new employment and the loss of earnings from losing your job, you may wish to consider if you have been unfairly dismissed.

You need to ask yourself three key questions:

  • What is your current employment status?

Your rights depend on whether you are an employee of the company or not.  If you are self-employed, an agency worker, a police officer or in the armed forces, registered dock work, working overseas for a foreign government or a share fisherperson then, unfortunately, you may only have limited rights to not have any rights to challenge your dismissal.

  • How long have worked for your employer?

Generally, you can only challenge a dismissal if you have been employed for two years or more by your employer. There are exceptions to this however and it is important to discuss these with your legal adviser if have been employed for less than two years.

  • Was the reason for your dismissal unfair?

You will need to demonstrate that you were actually dismissed. Only then can you challenge the dismissal. Usually the evidence needed will be in the form of an official termination letter, but this can also include emails or text messages from your employer.

Have I been dismissed?

If your employer has either ended your contract (with or without notice), refused to renew your fixed-term contract, made you redundant which includes voluntary redundancy, dismissed you for going on strike or stopped you coming back after maternity leave, then you have been dismissed.

If you have been suspended or have resigned by choice, you have not been dismissed. However, if you have resigned because of the actions of your employer, typical in how you were treated then this can be classed as ‘constructive dismissal’, which is a form of unfair dismissal.

Why was I dismissed?

You can look at ‘automatically unfair’ reasons or discrimination (please view our other pages on discrimination). You will be advised by your employer the reason for your dismissal and if your dismissal is for any of the following reasons, then it is ‘automatically unfair’:

  • Pregnant or on maternity leave

  • Have asked for your legal rights to be met (sometime called exercising your statutory rights)

  • Raising a Health and Safety issue

  • Working in a shop or betting shop and refused to work on a Sunday

  • Are a trade union member who took part in trade union activities

  • Whistleblowing, such as reporting your employer for any wrong doing.

  • As a result of a transfer of the business to another owner/entity.

Discrimination means you have been dismissed for the following reasons:

  • Pregnant or on maternity leave

  • Race, ethnicity or country

  • Married or in a civil partnership

  • A man or a woman

  • Disabled

  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender – or seen to be

  • Religion or set of beliefs

  • Age


Remember, you usually have only three months, less a day from when you were dismissed to enter in to ACAS Early Conciliation, failing which you will be unable to bring a claim.

Ashley Hunt

Ashley Hunt, Employment Solicitor,
Director, Lawson-West Solicitors, Leicester

What to do about Unfair Dismissal 

If you think you have been dismissed unfairly we can help. Please remember there are strict time limits in Employment claims and you should take legal advice as soon as possible.

In addition to No-Win-No-Fee, Lawson-West Solicitors acts for clients on a variety of other funding arrangements including Legal Expenses insurance funding. We can assess your case to decide which is the best funding option for you.

With offices in Leicester, Wigston and Market Harborough our employment solicitors and lawyers can discuss your employment law claim at any of our branches. In addition, we are a national provider of expert employment law advice and welcome a free discussion with you regarding your circumstances and potential claim.

If you believe you have a situation where you require free legal advice, please contact us on telephone 0116 212 1000 or 01858 445 480, alternatively complete our Contact Us form and we will get in touch as soon as possible.


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