It is possible to be dismissed in two ways:

  1. By your employer expressly dismissing you either verbally or in writing, or
  2. By reason of your employer’s conduct.  This is known as “constructive dismissal”. 






If you have been dismissed for a reason which is not a fair reason, or if your employer did not follow a fair procedure, you may have a claim for “unfair dismissal”. To claim unfair dismissal you must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. You must have been an “employee”. You would normally receive your pay under PAYE and be entitled to a Statement of Particulars (contract). Workers who are not employees may have other employment law rights which can be enforced in an Employment Tribunal, but if you are not an employee you cannot claim “unfair dismissal”,
  2. You must have been employed for a continuous period of two years in order to make a claim for “unfair dismissal”, (except in cases of automatically unfair dismissal),
  3. You must have been dismissed  (including constructive dismissal); and
  4. Your dismissal must have been unfair (see: Was your dismissal fair?). There are only five potentially fair reasons to dismiss an employee. If you were dismissed for a reason which was not a potentially fair reason, your dismissal will have been unfair.  If, in dismissing you, your employer did not follow a fair procedure your dismissal will have been unfair.

There are some exceptions to this where you dismissal is automatically unfair regardless of your length of service. To download a PDF detailing the automatically unfair reasons for dismissal click here.