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Unfair dismissal

Updating author: Max Winthrop


  • Under provisions now contained in part X of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed by his or her employer (s.94 of the Employment Rights Act 1996). (See Qualifying conditions)
  • If a claim for unfair dismissal is brought, the employer has to establish that the reason for the dismissal is one of the designated reasons set out in the statute and, if it overcomes that hurdle, the employment tribunal will go on to consider whether the dismissal was fair in all the circumstances. (See Reasons for dismissal and Fairness in the circumstances)
  • If the dismissal is found to be unfair, the tribunal will order the employer either to re-engage or reinstate the employee or, more commonly, to pay compensation. (See Remedies)
  • An employment tribunal may increase or decrease awards of compensation by up to 25% in the event of an unreasonable failure to comply with the "Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures". (See Overview)
  • Employers that compulsorily retire employees, or attempt to pressurise employees to retire, are at risk of direct age discrimination and unfair dismissal claims. (See Retirement)