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Your Questions Answered
Q: When is a dismissal fair and unfair?

A: A dismissal can be classified as automatically unfair, regardless of how reasonable the employer has been throughout the process, if an employee exercises specific rights in relation to:
  • Anything that is maternity/pregnancy related
  • Acting as an employee representative
  • Trade union membership and union recognition
  • Part-time and fixed-term working
  • Family reasons including parental leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave and time off for dependants
  • Pay and working hours relating to the Working Time Regulations, annual leave entitlements and the National Minimum Wage.
A fair dismissal is normally one where the employer can show the dismissal is for one of the following reasons:
  • A reason related to an employee’s conduct
  • A reason related to the capability of an employee
  • A reason related to the qualifications for the job
  • Redundancy
  • A statutory duty or restriction prohibited the employment from continuing, eg the employee was not eligible to work in the United Kingdom
  • Some other substantial reason of a kind which justifies dismissal
  • The employer acted reasonably in considering the reason sufficient for dismissal


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