Qualifying for Unfair Dismissal Protection

To qualify for Unfair Dismissal protection, an employee must meet the following conditions:

  1. Working full or part-time, the number of hours worked per week is irrelevant. The self-employed are excluded.
  2. Must have two years' continuous employment. However, see Unfair Dismissal Exceptions to this rule.
  3. The employee's job ended less than three months ago. This is because an employee only has three months from the date of dismissal to bring the claim, see 3-month rule for unfair dismissal.

It is, therefore, critical that you bring an unfair dismissal claim within the 3-month period.

Many employees fall into the trap of going through a company appeal procedure which takes longer than three months, so leaving them without the chance of making an unfair dismissal claim to an employment tribunal.

For example:

John, an IT manager, is dismissed from his work for hacking into computer files to obtain usernames & passwords. The usernames & passwords in question belonged to the IT Director. John was dismissed as this was the second occasion that this had happened and he had already been disciplined by the employer. 

John decided to appeal because he was frequently asked by other employees to carry out tasks that required these usernames & passwords and access to be completed. The IT Director has been away from work due to ongoing health issues on and off for the past 12 months. This forms part of John's appeal, as the IT Director failed to make the usernames & passwords readily available to him.

The employer has stated they must hear evidence from the IT Director as part of any appeal. However, the IT Director stays off work for another three months and the appeal process stalls.

John finally decides to make a claim for unfair dismissal - however; he is now out of time to make a claim. The employment tribunal will not accept the delayed company appeal process as an excuse to grant him an extension of time.

External links: gov.uk/employment-tribunals

Length of Service to bring an unfair dismissal claim

Employment Law