Frequently asked questions
Yes. If you've been continuously employed for at least one year with the same employer, you may request a written statement of the reason for dismissal. And if you're pregnant or on maternity leave you're entitled to a written statement without even having to ask. If your employer unreasonably fails to comply or the reason given is inadequate or false, you should seek immediate legal advice.
If your employer dismissed you for an automatically unfair reason, it will have no defence to a claim for unfair dismissal and the employment tribunal has no obligation to consider the reasonableness of your employer's actions. E xamples of automatic unfair dismissal include: (1) dismissal for asserting a statutory right; (2) unfair dismissal before, during or after the transfer of a business; (3) unfair selection for redundancy; (4) unfair retirement; (5) pregnancy or maternity-related dismissal; (6) unfair dismissal for trade union activity or work as an occupational pension scheme trustee.
While an employer may have a justifiable reason to dismiss you, the dismissal may still be unfair if there are procedural defects. Examples of procedural unfairness include unfair selection for redundancy, failing to carry out a proper investigation before dismissing you for gross misconduct; or failing to notify you before the default retirement age of your right to request to carry on working.
Currently, employers can require all staff to retire at 65 regardless of their circumstances and even if they don't want to retire, so long as they follow the correct procedure. This means an employer must give an employee at least six months' notice of retirement. If the employee serves notice that he or she wants to continue working past retirement, the employer must consider the application. If an employer fails to follow the correct retirement procedure, the employee may lodge a claim for age discrimination and unfair dismissal.
Maybe. First look at your employment contract. If it doesn't mention a payment, or you don't have a written contract, you may still qualify for statutory redundancy pay. Generally, to get this: (1) you must have worked as an employee; (2) continuously for the same employer for two years over the age of 16; (3) your employer must dismiss you; (4) the reason for dismissal must fall within the statutory definition of redundancy; and (5) you must not unreasonably refuse an offer of suitable alterative employment.
Of course, redundancy is a potentially fair reason for dismissal regardless of whether you are pregnant or on maternity leave. But if an employer selects you for redundancy purely because you're pregnant, on maternity leave, or recently had a child, you can claim automatic unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.
Employers often justify workplace drug testing on health and safety grounds, particularly in safety-critical jobs like driving or medicine. They may also cite concerns over employee absenteeism or job performance.
The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 prohibit an employer treating a fixed-term employee less favourably than a comparable permanent employee, unless the treatment can be objectively justified.
The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 prohibit an employer treating part-time workers less favourably in their contractual terms and conditions than comparable full-time workers, unless different treatment can be justified on objective grounds.
The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 forbids employers refusing to employ someone or treating them unfairly because of trade union membership or participation in trade union activities, or conversely because they refuse to join a trade union or eschew trade union activities. Read this article to learn more.
For job applicants, it’s essential to know the law concerning references as a good or bad one can make all the difference in an employer’s decision to hire you. Similarly, if you’re an employer or manger asked to give a reference, it’s important to know what your obligations are since you can incur significant liability if you make a mistake. Read this article to learn more.
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