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Unfair dismissal

Author: Fiona Cuming

Updating authors: Max Winthrop and Zuraida Curtis


  • The right not to be dismissed unfairly is a statutory right. (See Overview)
  • An employee must meet certain conditions to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. (See Qualifying conditions)
  • If a claim for unfair dismissal is brought, the employer must show that the reason for the dismissal is potentially fair. (See Reasons for dismissal)
  • Once the employer has established a potentially fair reason for the dismissal, the employment tribunal will decide if the dismissal for that reason was reasonable (fair) in all the circumstances. (See Fairness in the circumstances)
  • Even if an employer can establish that the reason for dismissal is potentially fair, procedural failings may make the dismissal unfair. (See Procedural unfairness)
  • An employee bringing a claim for unfair dismissal must do so within a specified time limit, although the time limit may be extended. (See Time limits for claims)
  • If the dismissal is found to be unfair, the tribunal will order the employer to reinstate or re-engage the employee or, more commonly, to pay compensation. (See Remedies)