If you’ve been dismissed for a reason other than those mentioned below, or there was a failure to follow a fair process, you need to act right away. You only have three months, less one day, from the date of your dismissal to file a claim with the employment tribunal. You must first undertake the mandatory ACAS early conciliation process. This process is compulsory for most claims and must be completed with a certificate issued by ACAS before you can lodge a claim with the employment tribunal. The aim for ACAS is to attempt to resolve the matter before it gets to the employment tribunal.

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Unfair dismissal

If you have worked for an employer continuously for at least two years, you have a number of legal rights. These mean that you cannot be dismissed without a fair reason. There are five legally fair reasons for dismissal:

  • Capability: Where your health or abilities are not up to the demands of your role
  • Conduct: Where there is either a single act of serious misconduct (gross misconduct) or there are a series of acts that are less serious. For example, where you are consistently late, you disobey reasonable orders, are abusive to others or frequently absent
  • Redundancy: Where your role no longer exists or there is a reduced requirement for employees to carry out a particular type of work, and you’ve been selected for redundancy based on fair criteria and after a fair selection process
  • Statutory restriction: Where you could not continue to work in the position you held without your employer being in breach of statute. For example, if you need to drive as an essential part of your job and you’re disqualified from driving
  • Some other substantial reason ‘SOSR’: Where your dismissal can be shown to be of a kind that could justify the dismissal of an employee holding your job. The reason for dismissal must be substantial

Starting the ACAS early consolidation process may operate to extend the time limit for lodging an employment tribunal claim. The ACAS early consolidation process makes the calculation of time limits in employment tribunal cases more complicated. You should seek legal advice promptly. Where ACAS early conciliation fails, we’re here to help you lodge an unfair dismissal claim with the employment tribunal.

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Constructive dismissal

Constructive dismissal is also known as constructive unfair dismissal. It occurs when your employer has treated you so badly that you’ve no choice but to resign. This can happen in a number of ways, such as when you’ve not been paid or if the trust and confidence in the employment relationship has fundamentally broken down.

Unfortunately, many people find themselves in a position at work where they feel unsafe, harassed or bullied, sometimes by colleagues and sometimes by managers. When this happens and your employer won’t act to protect you, you may be entitled to resign and bring a claim for constructive dismissal.

In fact, if your employer has:

  • Failed to take steps to stop people harassing or bullying you
  • Demoted you without just cause
  • Not paid you
  • Made unreasonable changes to your working conditions
  • Failed to provide a safe working environment
  • Not provided you with the support you needed to perform your role
  • Withdrawn important benefits set out in your employment contract

You might be entitled to bring a constructive dismissal claim.

If you believe that your position at work has become untenable, it’s often a good idea to talk to an experienced employment solicitor to find out if you may be able to resign and bring a constructive dismissal claim. Alternatively, if you’ve already been forced out of your job, or unfairly dismissed in some other way, we’re here to guide and advise you.

In order to bring a constructive dismissal claim, you must have been employed by your employer for at least two years. In order to be successful in your claim you will need good evidence. Resigning with the intention of bringing a constructive dismissal claim should only be done following advice and guidance from an employment law specialist. You should speak to one of our friendly, specialist employment solicitors as soon as possible.

Starting the ACAS early consolidation process may operate to extend the time limit for lodging an employment tribunal claim. The ACAS early consolidation process makes the calculation of time limits in employment tribunal cases more complicated. You should seek legal advice promptly. Where ACAS early conciliation fails, we’re here to help you lodge an unfair dismissal claim with the employment tribunal.

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