12/04/2021 | Civil Litigation News | Bethany Wong
During these unprecedented times, many employers will be looking to explore ways to cut costs so that their businesses can stay open. Although the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until March 2021, many companies have already made the difficult decision of reducing their workforce, and in some cases, closing altogether.
Employers cannot dismiss employees without good reason. This is because even during a global pandemic, employers are bound to follow proper dismissal procedures set out in the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and the Employment rights act 1996. You are entitled to compensation if your employer did not comply with the appropriate dismissal procedures.
I have been made redundant, and I disagree with the reasons for my dismissal, what do I do now?
According to the ACAS Code of Practice, employees must first lodge a grievance report if they disagree with the grounds of their termination. We would advise acting at the earliest possible opportunity. The time limit for presenting claims of unfair, automatic unfair or constructive dismissal to the Employment Tribunal is three months less one day from the date employment ended.
What is unfair dismissal?
Unfair dismissal means your employer dismissed you without a fair reason. Fair reason includes when the employee;
This means unless your employer dismissed you on one of the above grounds, you have been unfairly dismissed.
An unfair dismissal can also occur when the employer gave an acceptable reason but applied the wrong procedure or followed no procedure whatsoever.
If you are dismissed for self-isolating due to COVID-19 then this could amount to unfair dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996. This right applies to everyone regardless of their vulnerability status. So if you and everyone in your household are healthy, but you had to self-isolate for whatever reason then your employer, at most, can discipline you but they can not dismiss you.
An unfair dismissal claim can only be declared if you have worked for the company for at least 2 years. The exception is if you’ve been dismissed for an 'automatically unfair' reason, in such a scenario your length of employment is immaterial.
An automatically unfair reason includes dismissing you for;