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QWHAT is meant by automatically unfair dismissal? A. When an employment tribunal looks at a claim for dismissal, there are certain legal tests that will apply.

Generally, a person claiming unfair dismissal will have to have worked for her employer for at least two years continuously.

However there are certain reasons that a tribunal can decide are automatically unfair, which means that a claim for unfair dismissal can be made even if the person has been employed for less than two years.

Q. What are the reasons for dismissal that can be automatically unfair? A. The most common reasons for dismissal that are automatically unfair are: | Pregnancy - if a woman is dismissed because she is pregnant or on maternity leave | Health and safety - if an employee is dismissed for taking action over a health and safety issue at work or because an employee has reported a danger to health and safety | Whistleblowing - if an employee has been dismissed because she has 'blown the whistle' on a matter of concern | An employee seeking to assert a statutory employment right. Q. What does asserting a statutory right mean? A. If an employee can show to a tribunal that the main or only reason for her dismissal was because she was trying to assert or secure a statutory right, the dismissal will be automatically unfair. If the employee genuinely believed she had the right, the dismissal will be unfair.

Q. What are some examples of statutory employment rights that are relevant to an automatically unfair dismissal? A. Some examples: | | The right to a written statement of terms and conditions of employment; | Itemised payslips; | | To be paid at least the National Minimum Wage; | Not to have unlawful deductions made from wages; | The right to paid holidays; | The right not work more than 48 hours a week; | The right to weekly and daily rest breaks. Q. Does an employee have to tell an employer which statutory right they are seeking to assert? A. To be protected an employee must have made it clear to her employer which statutory right they were trying to assert.

For advice on all employment law matters, contact your local CAB office.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 27, 2019
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