If you think your employer ended your employment contract unfairly, either because of the process they used, or the reason why you were dismissed, then you may be able to complain to an employment tribunal on the grounds of an unfair dismissal.

Your dismissal could be unfair for several reasons, you may have been asked to leave for no fair reason, your employer may not have followed correct procedures when dismissing you or you were automatically dismissed for an unfair reason such as asking for maternity leave.

Automatic Unfair Dismissal

If you were dismissed because of your age or gender then you should be able to make a compensation claim to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. If you were dismissed for attempting to exercise your employment rights than you have automatically been unfairly dismissed. Below are a list of employment rights, if you were dismissed based on the factors below then you will receive compensation:

-    Time off for antenatal care
-    Time off to look after dependents
-    Maternity leave
-    Paternity leave
-    Adoption leave
-    Time off for jury service
-    A minimum notice period
-    Discrimination against race, religion, beliefs, disability
-    Refusing to do betting or shop work on a Sunday
-    Blowing the whistle for the sake of public interest

Pregnancy and maternity rights

If you fall pregnant then you cannot be dismissed due to your pregnancy or for taking time off for maternity leave. If your employer suspends you on the grounds of a health and safety issue then this is also the basis of an unfair dismissal.

It would also be unfair if you were  dismissed because you returned back late from your maternity leave because either, your employer didn’t correctly inform you that your leave had ended or gave you less than 28 days notice of your maternity leave’s end date.

Dismissal based on working hours

You have the right to rest breaks, paid leave, and limiting the average amount of hours you work per week. If you were dismissed because you refused to work over time or give up your rest break then you should look into making a claim on the ground of unfair dismissal.

Dismissal relating to pay

If you were about to qualify for national minimum wage (16 years old) and were dismissed based on this then this would be classified as an unfair dismissal.  Similarly, you cannot be fairly dismissed if you are not being paid national minimum wage and insist on your right to the correct wage.

As you can see there are numerous factors which can lead to an unfair dismissal.  If you believe you have been laid off unfairly then consider taking action! If your claim is successful you will be compensated for damages by an Employment Tribunal.