Can an employee claim unfair dismissal on expiry of his or her fixed-term contract of employment?



Any contract entered into for a fixed period will terminate automatically at the end of that term, so there can be no cause of action for breach of contract. However, the expiry of a fixed term is classed as a dismissal in law, meaning that, under the Employment Rights Act 1996, the employee could claim unfair dismissal and (potentially) redundancy pay. To defend an unfair dismissal claim, the employer would have to show that it had a fair reason for dismissing the employee (for example redundancy or "some other substantial reason") and that it acted fairly and reasonably in dismissing the employee for that reason.