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How to Know if Your Dismissal from Work Is Fair

Posted by rafael on February 21, 2013 in Business, Small Business

With the recession still ravaging the country and there’s seemingly no end in sight, everyone is trying to save money in any way they can. Unfortunately, this also applies to businesses. Many firms will have to resort to making staff redundant as a way of lowering expenditure.

Obviously, if you’re an employee rather than an employer, this is not particularly comforting to know. However, if you have been let go recently, your employer must have done this fairly; it is required by law.

This articles hopes to clear up the differences between fair dismissal and its unfair counterpart.


Fair Dismissal #1 – Redundancy

Redundancy occurs when the position you currently occupy is being made non-existent, as in, there will no longer be a need for someone to do that job. If you are made redundant, you are entitled to redundancy pay, a notice period and a consultation with your employer to explain the situation.

Your employer is not allowed to hire anyone in your old position, as it no longer exists. If they do this, it may be classed as unfair dismissal.

Fair Dismissal #2 – Being Unable to Do Your Job Properly

Your employer is well within his or her rights to dismiss you if you are not able to do your job correctly. For example, if your workplace has recently upgraded its computer network and you find yourself unable to use it properly, your employer would be allowed to dismiss you.

However, before doing so, your employer must offer you a chance to improve (perhaps by training you) as well as follow the typical disciplinary procedures.

Fair Dismissal #3 – Illness

You can’t be fired simply for having a regular illness, but you can be dismissed if you have a long term health problem that makes it impossible for you to do your job properly. Disability doesn’t count – your employer is legally obliged to support disability.

Before you can be dismissed, your employer must look for ways to support you and your health (is the job making you ill?) and give you a reasonable amount of time for recovery.

Fair Dismissal #4 – Misconduct

Here, we use the term “misconduct” to represent any grounds for fair dismissal that you have caused yourself, such as going to prison or acts of gross misconduct such as displaying violence towards a colleague.

It is also fair to dismiss you if your employment would break the law; for instance, if you’re a taxi driver and you lose your licence.

Unfair Dismissal

If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, get some advice by approaching your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or visiting www.employmentadvicenow.co.uk.

Some grounds upon which it is illegal to dismiss an employee are as follows: gender, race, marital status, sexuality, religion, age, disability, parental leave, whistleblowing, doing jury service or belonging to a trade union.

If you believe you’ve been dismissed unfairly, you may be able to challenge the dismissal at an employment tribune.

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