When can an employee bring a case of unfair dismissal?

Last updated: 29 Jan 2024

Under the Employment Rights Act, employees can usually only bring a claim of unfair dismissal if they have been continuously employed for two years. However, there is no qualifying period of service if you have been dismissed on any of the following grounds:

  • Maternity/pregnancy
  • Trade union membership or activities
  • Making a disclosure in the public interest (whistleblowing)
  • Asserting a statutory right at work
  • Being a pension trustee or workplace consultation representative
  • Health and safety (in specific circumstances)
  • For a reason related to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.

Claims of unfair dismissal must be presented to the Employment Tribunal within three months of the date of termination.

The first stage in bringing a tribunal claim is to apply to ACAS for ‘early conciliation’. The conciliation period stops the clock for presenting the claim to the employment tribunal. These rules are complex so Bectu members should always seek advice from the union.

Employees must comply with any appeal process, otherwise their compensation could be reduced by up to 25%.

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