Automatically Unfair Dismissal

Tuesday’s Teaser

Automatically Unfair DismissalIf I asked you what the following have in common, would you know?

  • Asserting a statutory right
  • Raising a grievance
  • Exercising the right to be accompanied at a formal meeting
  • Making a protected disclosure
  • Exercising the right to claim the national minimum wage
  • Taking time off for jury duty
  • Trade union membership/activities
  • Exercising the right to flexible working
  • Health and safety
  • Refusing to work on a Sunday
  • Being a part time employee
  • Taking family friendly leave
  • Pregnancy and childbirth

These are some of the reasons that are deemed to be automatically unfair if an employee is dismissed in connection with them.

What is automatically unfair dismissal?

An employee can only make a claim of unfair dismissal against their employer to an employment tribunal upon securing 2 years continuous employment unless it is for an automatically unfair reason in which case there is no minimum length of service requirement.

In such circumstances once the reason for dismissal has been identified and if it is for one which falls into this category there is no requirement to consider the fairness of the employer’s actions and there will be no defence for the employer.

There are a few other reasons which are deemed to be automatically unfair dismissals but are an exception to the rule in that they still require the qualifying period to be able to make a claim, one example is in a tupe transfer unless it was an ETO reason for the employee’s dismissal.


  • Ensure your disciplinary policy and procedure are up to date
  • Ensure your managers are well trained, especially if they are conducting disciplinary hearings

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