Dismissals: termination of work contract


By Alessandra Vieira De Aquino

In these difficult financial times, probably the most common employment issue we receive enquires about at Caven relates to dismissals. Many people are being made redundant or simply let down by the employer, sometimes after many years of service.

There are many types of dismissal. It is possible that your employer’s choice to terminate your contract amounts to fair dismissal, constructive dismissal or unfair dismissal.

Fair dismissal

When I talk to clients about their situation, I find that many find it helpful to know on which grounds their employer can fairly dismiss them. A dismissal may be considered fair when:

  • The employer believes that the employee has not been carrying out his expected duties towards his job role
  • Is guilty of misconduct 
  • Employment faces a restriction from a statutory duty
  • Any other circumstance that prevents the employer to continue employing an employee

Constructive dismissal

A dismissal is considered as constructive when the employee resigns due to some unexpected breach of the employee’s contract such as:

  • Relocation
  • Unreasonable increase of workload
  • Unsafe work environment or conditions
  • Harassing, discriminatory or bullying work environment
  • Cut of the work wages without previous agreement

Unfair dismissal

Most of the callers I speak to wonder whether they might have a case for unfair dismissal. If you are the victim of unfair dismissal, you might, for instance, have been dismissed:

  • Without a genuine cause
  • Without following the correct notice period
  • The dismissal falls into one of the many automatic unfair reasons for dismissal

The last point might seem complicated but there are clearly established grounds on which a dismissal is considered automatically unfair. Grounds that are considered as automatically unfair includes:

  • Maternity and paternity leave
  • Trade union membership
  • Request of flexible working  arrangements
  • Issues related to the national minimum wage
  • Seeking help at a grievance hearing

If you have just been dismissed and you believe you have the right to compensation because your dismissal was unfair, you have to act fast. The deadline in the UK to raise a claim against the employer is three months from the date of the dismissal. In order to claim for unfair dismissal you must have been with your employer for two continuous years. This time limit does not apply if the dismissal was automatically unfair. In such instances there is no minimum time requirement

Alessandra Vieira De Aquino is one of Caven’s most knowledgeable case handlers with extensive experience in this matter from dealing with clients on a day-to-day basis.

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