Was Your Dismissal Fair? If you are claiming unfair dismissal the tribunal will decide whether your dismissal was fair in two stages:

  • Firstly it will decide whether you were dismissed for one of the five potentially fair reasons (see below). If not, your dismissal will have been unfair
  • Secondly, if your employer shows that the dismissal was for one of the potentially fair reasons, it must go on to decide whether the dismissal was fair or unfair – that is, did your employer follow a fair procedure (see below)

The tribunal must consider whether your employer acted reasonably in dismissing you for the reason given. If you are able to show that the reason for the dismissal was automatically unfair the question of whether your employer acted reasonably does not arise.




Potentially Fair Reasons For Dismissal: There are five potentially fair reasons for which you could be dismissed after receiving the appropriate warnings and undergoing a fair procedure. The potentially fair reasons are:

  • A reason relating to your capability or qualifications for performing the kind of work you were employed to do
  • A reason related to your conduct
  • Redundancy
  • That you could not continue to work in the position you held without contravening a duty or restriction imposed by or under an enactment. For example a driver who loses his driving licence. Or
  • Some other substantial reason of a kind such as to justify the dismissal of an employee holding the position which you held. This often arises in business reorganisations or where, for strong business reasons, contracts need to be varied. Generally there is an emphasis on consultation and considering alternatives before such a dismissal will be regarded as fair

Has There Been a Fair Procedure? 

  • Issues should be raised and dealt with promptly
  • Employers and employees should act consistently
  • Employers should carry out any necessary investigations to establish the facts of the case, including a fact-finding meeting with you where appropriate
  • If the issue relates to poor health or disability, your employer should obtain a medical report and discuss it with you and you should have been warned that your job is at risk
  • In cases of disability your employer should make reasonable adjustments
  • If the issue relates to the performance of your job, your employer should consult you about the concerns about your performance and give you a chance to address those concerns. You should be warned that your job is at risk
  • If the issue relates to your conduct, you should have received warnings about improvement unless there is a single incident of Gross Misconduct
  • If the issue relates to redundancy your employer should have followed a fair redundancy procedure