Unfair dismissal—law firms
Unfair dismissal—law firms

The following Practice Management guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Unfair dismissal—law firms
  • Time limits
  • Who can claim
  • Qualifying period
  • Definition of dismissal
  • Effective date of termination
  • Reason for dismissal
  • Procedural fairness
  • Automatically unfair reasons
  • Remedies
  • more

The right not to be unfairly dismissed is a purely statutory right arising under section 94 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996).

ERA 1996, Part X contains most of the provisions relating to who has the right, how to bring a claim, when the right is infringed and the remedies available following a successful claim.

Time limits

Claims for unfair dismissal may only be brought in an employment tribunal and must generally be presented within three months of the effective date of termination of employment.

Who can claim

The right is generally subject to a number of qualifying conditions and exceptions, including that the claimant must:

  1. be an employee

  2. have been dismissed

Specific provisions set out which categories of employee and employment situation have the right not to be unfairly dismissed.

Qualifying period

For employees starting fresh employment on or after 6 April 2012, the right not to be unfairly dismissed generally only arises when the employee has been continuously employed for a period of at least two years.

Employees whose current period of continuous employment commenced before 6 April 2012 will:

  1. retain their unfair dismissal rights if they have already been continuously employed for one year or more as at 6 April 2012 (even if they have been employed for less than two years), or

  2. gain unfair dismissal

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