End of Employment - Effective Date of Termination for Unfair Dismissal

As claims for Unfair Dismissal must be brought within three months, it is critical to decide exactly when the three month period starts, this is known as the "Effective Date of Termination" (EDT). This is not always the date that the employee is told that they are dismissed. If an employee is given notice, the notice starts from the day after it was given.

The three months starts to run in the following circumstances:

Notice Period
The same day that the notice period ends. It does not matter if the notice period is worked through or not or even whether the employer actually gives the right amount of notice.

Summary Dismissal (i.e. dismissal without notice)
The three months runs from the date of Summary Dismissal. Dismissal without notice usually happens when the employee commits a serious act, for example, theft or assault.

Payment in Lieu (i.e. payment instead of notice)
Where the employer pays the employee for their notice period but does not ask them to work through the notice period. The three months runs from the date of dismissal.

Appeals & Disciplinary Procedures
If the employer's procedures to appeal against dismissal are used, and at the end of the procedure, the original decision is confirmed then the original date of dismissal stands. As most procedures take over three months, the employee would not be able to bring an Unfair Dismissal claim. If an employee is only suspended during the employer's procedures, the three months only starts to run from the decision to actually dismiss. Some employment contracts do state that the three months only runs from after the appeal & disciplinary procedure has ended. If an employee has an employment contract, the disciplinary procedure may be included in the contract.

The "Effective Date of Termination" can sometimes be extended. For example, where an employee is summarily dismissed one week before their two years' continuous employment comes into effect.

However, the EDT will not be extended if the summary dismissal is justified. The Employment Tribunal will look to see if the summary dismissal is justified. This extension can also be used in Constructive Dismissal cases.

Time Limit for Unfair Dismissal claim

Employment Law