Unfair Dismissal

Want help with your hiring? It's easy. Enter your information below, and we'll quickly reach out to discuss your hiring needs.
The idea of unfair dismissal is subject to two interpretations: legal and moral. Although a specific instance of employment termination may seem "unfair" for moral (or morally-associated emotional) reasons, e.g., as a betrayal of years of loyal service, in the strictest and fundamentally most important sense, unfair dismissal is a legal matter-with a comparably strict definition in the U.K.

There, the emphasis and defining criterion relates to termination through discrimination against protected categories of individuals-for example, because of pregnancy, maternity leave, race, ethnicity or age.

Benefits awarded on the basis of unfair dismissal are limited in size and duration, up to a maximum of 30 weeks and £400 per week.

In other jurisdictions, such as Canada, the concept of "wrongful dismissal" plays a counterpart role, but with different emphases, e.g., on dismissal without proper notice or severance pay, and on "constructive dismissal", which involves creating an intolerable work environment or conditions for the employee, thereby more or less forcing the employee to quit.

"Unfair dismissal" is a term used in the United Kingdom in connection with protecting employees from termination by discrimination. Examples of unfair dismissal include termination because of a pregnancy or maternity leave. In order to be protected an employee must have been employed for at least one full year at the time of the dismissal.

When an employee files an unfair claim, the employer is called by the Employment Tribunal, which asks a series of questions about why the employee was terminated. The answers given are then compared against a list of fair discharge reasons and then finally evaluated for validity.

If the claim is valid, compensation must be provided for the previous employee in order to cover financial losses such as expenses and lost benefits. The maximum that can be awarded is £68,400. If the worker doesn't qualify for the compensation award, (s)he may still be entitled to a "basic award". The basic award is only a fraction of what the compensation award would be. At the maximum, a person can anticipate a benefit no more than a total of £12,000, at £400 per week (for 30 weeks).

Normally, to be eligible for benefits, an employee must not have been fired for serious wrongdoing or breach of employment contract. However, there are times when an employee may be fired for a legally valid reason, but in a very morally unfair way.

For example, an employee missed work and did not call in to report (s)he would be off work, due to being in a car accident and hospitalized in a coma for three days. The employer has the right to terminate their employment for not reporting to work or having someone call in on their behalf. However, due to the situation, the reason was justified and alternatives should have been considered instead of just terminating employment. Whether or not an unemployment benefits claim filed on this basis would be disqualified is moot and probably highly dependent on the local regulatory framework.
  • Certification Program

    Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We're SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.

    Take Program Today
  • Career Research Tool

    Use our career research tool to find more than just a list of careers - find the right long term career for you. Explore salary trends for each type of profession, read sample job descriptions, and find the professional and educational requirements for specific careers.

    Use it Now