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Fair and unfair dismissals

Unfair dismissal

Dismissals are classed as 'automatically unfair' if the reason for dismissal is connected with an employee exercising specific rights relating to:

  • pregnancy: including all reasons relating to maternity
  • family reasons: including parental leave, paternity leave (birth and adoption), adoption leave or time off for dependants
  • representation: including acting as an employee representative
  • trade union membership grounds and union recognition
  • part-time and fixed-term employees
  • pay and working hours: including the Working Time Regulations, annual leave and the National Minimum Wage.

When is a dismissal fair?

Dismissal is normally fair if an employer can show that it is for one of the following reasons:

  • a reason related to an employee's conduct
  • a reason related to an employee's capability or qualifications for the job
  • because of a redundancy
  • because a statutory duty or restriction prohibited the employment being continued
  • some other substantial reason of a kind which justifies the dismissal.

And that they acted reasonably in treating that reason as sufficient for dismissal.

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