Automatic Unfair Dismissal ClaimsKieran Ram
Automatic Unfair Dismissal claims
If you have been dismissed from work and have been working there for a period of less than 2 years, you are generally unable to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal. However, it is possible that you may be able to pursue a claim for automatic unfair dismissal. At Adam Bernard Solicitors, our London based employment lawyers can advise you on if you meet the criteria to pursue an automatic unfair dismissal claim.
What is an Automatic Unfair Dismissal?
An automatic unfair dismissal is a dismissal that is so clearly unfair that the employee does not have to show they have worked at the same employer for a period of 2 years. This is because the automatic unfair dismissal breaches the employees’ basic rights given to them under UK employment laws. If the employee can prove there has been a breach of their rights under employment law, they do not need to prove that their employer did not follow a fair procedure or did not act reasonably during the dismissal. This means if your employer has breached your employee rights it may be enough to pursue a successful claim.
Can I bring an Automatic Unfair dismissal claim?
To bring an automatic unfair dismissal claim you must show that before being dismissed you were an employee. However, you do not need to show that you have worked there for a certain amount of time (unlike unfair dismissals). You must meet the legal definition of an employee; an employee is defined in law as a person who has entered into or works under a contract of employment. This may be a written or verbal contract of employment. If you do not have an employment contract, or your employer is disputing your employment status, you should consider the following points to determine whether you are an employee.
You will likely be classed as an employee if:
- Your workload is set by someone else such as a manager or a supervisor and they instruct you on how to complete work.
- You’re expected to work unless you’re on leave.
- You will always have work set for you and you cannot refuse to take work.
- Your employment contract requires you to complete the work.
Unfair Dismissal or Automatic Unfair dismissal?
Below are some key differences between valid unfair dismissal claims and automatic unfair dismissals claims:
– You don’t need to prove you’ve been an employee for 2 years to bring an automatic unfair dismissal claim unlike unfair dismissal claims.
– If you can prove your dismissal was automatically unfair; you do not need to show that your employer acted unreasonably or did not follow proper procedure.
– In automatic unfair dismissal claims; you do not need to demonstrate that your dismissal fell outside the lawful reasons for dismissal.
For more information on unfair dismissals click here to see my previous blog.
What are the grounds for an automatic unfair dismissal claim?
There are 60 potential grounds which an employee can use to bring an automatic unfair dismissal claim. These grounds are based around basic rights that all employees in the UK are protected by. We have listed some grounds below; you may have a claim for automatic unfair dismissal if your dismissal was related to:
– Taking leave or asking to take leave for family emergencies or to care for sick family members.
– Pregnancy and reasons linked to maternity leave and pay.
– Taking leave or asking to take leave for family reasons, including parental leave, paternity leave or shared parental leave.
– For being called away from work to participate in jury service.
– For whistleblowing about illegal or immoral actions at work.
– Issues around pay and working hours, this includes being paid the national minimum wage, work time regulations and annual leave.
– For asserting or trying to assert a statutory right; for example, asking to be paid minimum wage.
– Being a fixed term or part time employee.
– In connection with you acting as an employee representative.
– In connection with you acting as a trade union representative.
– Being part of or refusing to be part of a trade union.
– For taking part in lawful protected industrial action such as strikes.
– Being a trustee for an occupational pension scheme.
– For taking action at work on grounds of health and safety.
– Being dismissed in relation to a protected characteristic under the equality act such as race, disability or sexual orientation. If this is your ground you may also be able to bring a claim for unlawful discrimination.
This is a non-exhaustive list. If you think you may have a claim for automatic unfair dismissal but do not see your reason here; get in contact with our team of employment law experts and book a consultation to determine whether you have a ground to pursue an automatic unfair dismissal claim.
Is there a time limit to make an Automatic Unfair dismissal claim?
Automatic Unfair dismissal claims are subject to time limitations like many claims you can bring at the Employment Tribunal. From the date you were dismissed, you will have 3 months less 1 day to bring a claim. This means if you were dismissed on the 2nd January 2022, you must lodge a complaint with ACAS no later than 1st April 2022. You should seek legal advice as soon as you’re dismissed.
Automatic Unfair Dismissal during the pandemic
Covid-19 has impacted all of our lives and places of work. In 2020 and 2021, significant life changing regulations have been rushed through parliament creating massive legal grey areas. Our employment lawyers have seen an exponential increase in employment law claims involving issues around covid health and safety rules. This has included a number of automatic unfair dismissal claims.
If you were dismissed for taking action on grounds of health and safety in the workplace, for example raising concerns that your workplace does not offer appropriate PPE; this would amount to an automatic unfair dismissal.
The recent case of Gibson v Lothian Leisure established that if your employer has failed to implement covid secure measures and you refuse to come in until they do; to dismiss you because of this will amount to an automatic unfair dismissal. You can read the full case judgement here.
If you have been dismissed for self-isolating as a result of testing positive for covid-19 or being contacted by NHS track and trace, this may amount to an automatic unfair dismissal.
Summary of an Automatic Unfair dismissal claim
To bring a claim for automatic unfair dismissal you must be able to show:
– You meet the legal definition of an employee.
– You have been dismissed in connection with an employee statutory right.
If you think you have an automatic unfair dismissal claim; give us a call on 02071002525 to book a consultation. Our renowned London-based employment lawyers can advise you on your rights and how to achieve the best outcome. Employment law cases are time sensitive and automatic unfair dismissal claims are no exception. Seek legal advise as soon as you are dismissed so we can be proactive in achieving the best result for you.
Where can you find us?
Adam Bernard Solicitor’s office is located near Upton Park Station, adjacent to the famous West Ham Stadium, with excellent access to the underground and bus routes. If you are driving then there is free parking available at the front and the rear of our office building.