You need 2 years’ service to bring a claim of unfair dismissal, right?

Actually no.

Putting aside the automatically unfair reasons for dismissing someone – for discriminatory reasons, health and safety, Working Time Regulations, asserting statutory rights etc (there is a full list here), there can be some circumstances where an employee can bring a claim if they are dismissed just before they acquire enough service to claim unfair dismissal.

Some employers fall into the trap of dismissing someone after 1 year and 51 weeks and pay in lieu of one week’s statutory notice. However, a Claimant can add the statutory minimum notice of one week to take them “over the line” – they then qualify for an ordinary claim of unfair dismissal under s86(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Employees who are dismissed for gross misconduct – and no payment in lie of notice cannot get the benefit of adding the statutory minimum notice of one week.

Employers would be advised diarise carefully the anniversary of qualifying service. It is an easy – and costly mistake to make.

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