A claim for unfair dismissal can be made if the reason for dismissal was not one of a number of ‘fair reasons’ (e.g. conduct, capability, "some other substantial reason", statutory ban or redundancy).
Most employees need a particular length of service to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. At present this is two years’ service. However, all employees can bring a claim for unfair dismissal if the reason for dismissal is deemed to make the dismissal automatically unfair (e.g. for whistleblowing or for family reasons such as dismissals for reasons connected to pregnancy, parental leave, or requests for flexible working).
Even if the dismissal is deemed to be for a fair reason, to avoid a successful claim for unfair dismissal the employer must still follow a fair procedure and act reasonably in dismissing the employee.
If the reason for the dismissal involves discrimination against the employee (because of a protected characteristic such as sex, race, age or disability), employees may make a discrimination claim irrespective of their length of service.
Employees with two years of service have the right to request a written statement of reasons for dismissal. Employers must provide the statement within 14 days of the request.
Irrespective of length of service, employees dismissed during pregnancy or statutory maternity or adoption leave are automatically entitled to a written statement of reasons for dismissal without having to request it.
An employee may give notice of termination without providing cause. An employer, on the other hand, is only permitted to give notice of termination for one of the reasons explicitly stated in the Labour Code, which are as follows:
- organisational reasons – the employer’s enterprise shuts down or relocates, or the employee is made redundant; or
- health reasons − the employee no longer has the capacity to carry out his present work in a satisfactory manner; this must be confirmed with a medical certificate issued by the occupational medical services provider or under a ruling of the competent administrative agency having duly reviewed the medical certificate; or
- an employee no longer meets the requirements outlined for the work they are carrying out; or
- there are reasons for immediate termination of the employment relationship − the employee has committed a gross breach of duty or has been lawfully sentenced to prison for a crime; or
- the employee has seriously, or less seriously but repeatedly, breached a statutory duty relating to their work performance; or
- the employee breaches their obligation to observe the prescribed regime of an insured person being temporarily unfit for work in the first 14 calendar days of temporary incapacity for work due to sickness in an especially gross manner.