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Unfair Dismissal Solicitors in Chesterfield, Sheffield, Dronfield and Mansfield

Unfair Dismissal Guide

A guide for employees with essential information on employment rights, capability, conduct, gross misconduct, redundancy, illegality and automatic unfair dismissals.

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Unfair Dismissal Guide
At Banner Jones Solicitors, we care. We know that being dismissed from your job can be hard to face and our expert Employment Law specialists in Chesterfield, Sheffield, Mansfield and Dronfield will not only offer you compassionate legal advice, but they will also guide you through the process step by step.  

For your convenience, we also offer a flexible range of fee options on all aspects of employment law.

For more information, call Banner Jones Solicitors on 0330 017 6309 and get the latest legal advice today!

What is unfair dismissal?

All employers can dismiss their employees. However, the Employment Rights Act 1996 says that for a dismissal to be fair, there must be a fair reason and a fair process must be followed. The Employment Rights Act 1996 sets out 5 potentially fair reasons that an employer can rely on to dismiss an employee.

In addition, the law seeks to protect employees in certain circumstances by making dismissals in those circumstances automatically unfair, meaning that if they are sacked in such circumstances, their dismissal can never be justified.

The following are examples of automatically unfair dismissal:

  • Being dismissed for being pregnant or being on maternity leave
  • Being dismissed for taking part in trade union activities (including industrial action) and are a trade union member
  • Being dismissed for asking for your legal rights – e.g. being paid the national minimum wage
  • Being dismissed for refusing to work on a Sunday (and you are a shop or betting shop worker)
  • Being dismissed because you have raised concerns about your employer’s wrongdoing (this is known as “whistleblowing”)
  • Being dismissed for taking action on a health and safety issue
  • Being dismissed for a protected characteristic (i.e. discrimination)

What are the 5 potentially fair reasons to be dismissed, fired or sacked?

  1. Conduct
  2. Capability – this can include not only issues with an employee’s performance but also concerns about their health and attendance
  3. Redundancy – a redundancy occurs where an employer is closing a business, closing a workplace or needs fewer employees to do the work
  4. Illegality – this means that it is unlawful for your employer to continue to employ you – e.g. being employed as a driver, but not having a licence to drive
  5. Some Other Substantial Reason (SOSR) – this a catch-all category that can include reasons such as personality clashes, third-party pressure to dismiss and restructures.

Who can pursue a claim for unfair dismissal?

Only employees can claim unfair dismissal, and as a general rule, an employee must have 2 years’ continuous service with an employer to bring a claim of unfair dismissal.

However, if an employee has been dismissed for an automatically unfair reason, then they do not need to have 2 years’ service in order to make a claim.

What should you do following a dismissal?

In the first instance, an employee should consider raising an appeal against the decision to dismiss them. If they don’t there can be a reduction of up to 25 per cent on any compensation subsequently awarded to the employee by an employment tribunal for failure to appeal under the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

If an employee has more than 2 years’ continuous service with an employer, they have the right to be given written reasons for their dismissal upon request. An employee can bring a claim in the employment tribunal if their employer doesn’t provide a written response within 14 days of the request.

An employee might also consider entering into a “without prejudice” or “protected” conversation with their employer to try to obtain a compensation payment, without having to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal in an employment tribunal. However, ultimately, if an employee thinks they have been unfairly dismissed, and cannot resolve this with their employer by way of an appeal or “off the record” negotiations, they can bring a claim in an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.

It is essential for employees to know that if they want to bring a claim, they must ensure that the employment tribunal receives their claim within 3 months less 1 day of their dismissal. They will also be required to contact ACAS to register for early conciliation as they will need a reference number from ACAS to enter on to their employment tribunal claim form.

Common Unfair Dismissal Questions

Do we have to do anything else in our recruitment adverts?

You need to be able to justify if you are asking for certain levels of experience. Advertising for a bus driver who is safe and has had previous experience is one thing advertising for a bus driver with 10 years’ experience is another. The first option leaves your job advert open for all ages to apply. The second rules out individuals who may be in their early twenties.

 Other points to consider when recruiting new employees:

  • Ensure whoever is interviewing potential employee’s scores interviewees on their skills and competencies as opposed to their age.
  • Although they are not discriminatory themselves consider removing any reference to age on your job application forms.
  • Don’t ask a potential employee for a physical fitness test unless you require them. 

Once you have selected an appropriate employee ensure managers and staff are trained to monitor and avoid any discriminatory behaviour. Also make sure it is clear within any policies you have that discrimination in any form is unacceptable. Ensure managers are fully trained in diversity issues and that they are able to deal with discriminatory issues that arise within the workplace.

Do we need to worry about these requirements if we employ people in their 50’s and 60’s?

Yes you need to be aware of these requirements if you employ anyone of any age. They affect every area of employment as well as the recruitment and selection process. The requirements not only make it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of age but also harassment whether it be intentional or unintentional or to victimise an individual. 

You need to worry not only about your own actions but also your fellow employees who must be discouraged from making offensive or unkind comments about age or anything in between.

 As with other areas of discrimination if your employee can demonstrate that there has been a difference in treatment which is due to discrimination it is solely down to you the employer to show otherwise or for you to prove that you have done everything in your power to stop such discrimination. There are no limits to discrimination awards and often they include an aspect for suffering, failure to do so can be expensive. 


How does age discrimination requirements effect the recruitment process?

When you are recruiting employees you need to ensure you are not discriminating for or against anyone due to their age. This means you cannot advertise specific age requirements in any of your job adverts unless you can justify them.

What are the conditions of age discrimination?

In 2011 legislation new legislation was introduced making it unlawful to treat anyone differently due to their age except if it could be justified or falls within one of the exemptions to the law. The retirement age of 65 has now been phased out meaning employers can now only forcibly retire workers if it can be justified.  


What year did the requirements of age discrimination come into effect?

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations came into effect in October 2006. The retirement age of 65 was phased out between April 2011 and October 2011.

Why Choose Banner Jones for Unfair Dismissal Claims?

1) We are up to date with the latest Employment Law changes

Our team of legal experts are continually keeping ahead with new laws and regulations. You will strongly benefit from our specialists’ knowledge who will guide you through the process every step of the way.

2) We will assess the strength of your case

At Banner Jones, we know how difficult it can be to face the prospect of losing your job. We will not only advise you on the merits of an unfair dismissal case but also on its potential costs and benefits. This will help you with your decision on whether to take your claim forward.

3) We are one of the top legal firms in the country

For five years in a row, Banner Jones Solicitors is recognised as a leading "UK Legal 500" law firm. With offices in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Mansfield and Dronfield, we have helped thousands of people locally with their employment law cases.

4) We recognise that compassionate communication is key

At Banner Jones, we have a team of Employment Law specialists who are friendly, compassionate and who will support you every step of the way. We understand that individuals who come to us are often feeling stressed and anxious about their future. Rest assured that our service is confidential and your case will be handled sensitively.

5) We offer a number of options to fund your case

At Banner Jones, we know that taking legal action after being dismissed can be a costly exercise. We have a wealth of experience working with legal expenses insurance and will always consider whether we can fix the cost of the advice and assistance that we provide to you. Depending on the likely outcome of your case, we may also offer you a no win no fee option which will be assessed at the initial appointment.

For more information on Unfair Dismissal, call our friendly team of Employment Law specialists on 0330 017 6303

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Employment Law Chesterfield

Very professional and showed empathy throughout.

Mr B, Walton

Professional yet personal & understanding. Excellent service

Mr P, Chesterfield

Katie is understanding, considerate and very kind and thoughtful in her manner.

Mrs L, Old Tupton

We have used Banner Jones for employment advice for over 20 years and the team have always found the best approach to resolve our problem

Mr. Richard Kay, Operations Manager, Stagecoach East Midlands

“Katie Ash recently reviewed an employment agreement for me and provided extremely sound and practical HR advice. She took the time to understand my background and business requirements, which proved invaluable for me to reach the right professional solution. She displayed wide industry knowledge in HR employment matters and I would, without hesitation, recommend BannerJones and their legal and consultancy services provided by her.”

David Hart InXpress Sheffield


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We take data privacy very seriously, and we want you to understand and feel confident about how we collect, store and handle your personal data. If you’d like to find out more you can read our Privacy Policy.