Automatic unfair dismissal

What is Automatic Unfair Dismissal?

Automatic Unfair Dismissal occurs when an employee is dismissed from their job for exercising one of their statutory employment rights.

Generally, in order to be able to file a complaint of dismissal against an employer, the employee will have been required to have served at least one year’s continuous service within the company but this is not the case for Automatic Unfair Dismissal and a claim can be put in regardless of the length of service.

All employees have or should have statutory employment rights in place which they have the right to exercise. If however an employee is dismissed for exercising or trying to exercise one of these statutory rights they can then take their case to an employment tribunal.

Cases that Qualify as Automatic Unfair Dismissal

An employee has the right to make a claim for Automatic Unfair Dismissal against their employer if:

  • The employee was dismissed for taking parental leave
  • The employee was dismissed due to pregnancy or a reason connected to the pregnancy
  • The employee was dismissed for taking paternity leave
  • The employee was dismissed for taking adoption leave
  • The employee was dismissed for taking reasonable time off work because of a dependent
  • The employee was dismissed for applying for job flexibility
  • The employee was dismissed for raising health and safety concerns or issues related to health and safety
  • The employee was dismissed for attempting to enforce their rights under the Part-Time Workers Regulations (2000)
  • The employee was dismissed due to issues relating to the Working Time Regulations (1998)
  • The betting or retail employee was dismissed due to refusing to work on Sundays
  • The employee was dismissed for whistleblowing
  • The employee was dismissed due to issues regarding their duties or performance as an occupational pension fund trustee
  • The employee was dismissed due to issues regarding their duties or performance as an employee representative
  • The employee was dismissed due to issues regarding tax credits
  • The employee was dismissed due to partaking in official industrial action
  • The employee was dismissed without the employer complying with disciplinary procedures and statutory dismissal
  • The employee was dismissed due to their activities within a trade union
  • The employee was dismissed due to absence from work because of jury duty
  • The employee was dismissed due to discrimination – Discrimination is the detrimental treatment of an individual on the grounds of their age, sex, religion, race, beliefs, disability or sexual orientation
  • The employee was dismissed before, during or after business transfers and the employee was protected under the Transfer of Undertakings Protections (TUPE) unless the employer can prove he had good reason

Making a Claim

An employer is not allowed to dismiss an employee for wanting to enforce their statutory employment rights.

An employee who has been a victim of Automatic Unfair Dismissal can take their case to an employment tribunal. Usually the tribunal will award the employee with compensation which will be based on their length of service within the company and their salary.

However, occasionally, a tribunal may order an employer to reinstate the employee. Failure to do so could result in the employee being entitled to a further award.

If an employee feels they have been the victim of Automatic Unfair Dismissal and believes they have a case the first step is to seek legal advice as soon as possible. It’s a good idea for the employee to appoint a legal representative who specialises in employment law to start putting their case for Automatic Unfair Dismissal together.

A case for Automatic Unfair Dismissal will need to be filed within 3 months of the dismissal taking place.