Automatic Unfair Dismissal

This page covers automatic unfair dismissal and how it could be handled.

Automatic Unfair Dismissal

What is Automatic Unfair Dismissal?

If you are dismissed and have less than two years’ service you may be able to bring a claim for what is known as ‘automatic unfair dismissal’. You will need to prove before the Employment Tribunal that you were dismissed for one of the automatically unfair reasons listed below.

Automatic Unfair Dismissal Reasons

Dismissals are classed as 'automatically unfair' if the reason for dismissal is connected with an employee exercising specific rights relating to:

*although a dismissal related to TUPE is said to be automatically unfair, you do still need two years service to bring such a claim.

Being dismissed for carrying out Jury service, acting as a pension trustee, refusing to work on a Sunday as a shop worker are some of the other potential unlawful reasons for being dismissed.

If you cannot prove an automatic unfair dismissal, you may still have a claim for ordinary unfair dismissal if you have at least 2 years’ continuous service.

Time limits

The time limit to submit a claim for automatic unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal is three months less one day from the day the employee is dismissed. ACAS Early Conciliation must be started before this date. For guidance on ACAS Early Conciliation please see the ACAS webiste here.

Interim Relief

Interim Relief is available where the reason for dismissal was one of the following automatically unfair reasons:

Other potential grounds include dismissal for Proposing to become a member of an independent trade union and dismissal for exercising the right to be accompanied in grievance or disciplinary hearing.

A successful application of Interim Relief means that your employment contract is restored by the Employment Tribunal pending the outcome of a full hearing on the merits of your case, which may be several months into future. This means you should continue to get paid.

An application for interim relief is made to an Employment Tribunal. Exceptionally there is no requirement to commence ACAS early conciliation. The Employment Tribunal will then arrange a hearing as soon as practicable after the claim has been submitted.

The deadline for an application of interim relief is just 7 days (or sooner) from the date of dismissal. Contact your region or legal officer immediately for advice if you believe you have a claim.

If you are unsure about any aspect of employment law then you can refer to our other UnionLine employement rights pages - in particular the one on the issue of Limitation in Employment cases. You may also want to seek specific advice from your GMB Region in the first instance.

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