To be a 'fair' dismissal, an employer must show that it was due to one of five specific reasons. The employer must also have acted fairly and reasonably in carrying out the dismissal. More positive approaches, such as coaching and counselling, may help in some cases relating to conduct or performance, and should be considered before resorting to dismissal.

This factsheet explains the difference between wrongful, unfair and constructive dismissal. Concentrating on unfair dismissal, it sets out the five reasons, the importance of following a fair procedure and what this could entail. It looks at which employees qualify to claim unfair dismissal and considers the possible compensation employers could face.

CIPD viewpoint

What is dismissal?

Wrongful dismissal

Unfair dismissal

Constructive dismissal

Compensation for dismissal

Useful contacts and further reading

Rachel Suff

Rachel Suff: Employee Relations Adviser

Rachel joined the CIPD as a policy adviser in 2014 to increase the CIPD’s public policy profile and engage with politicians, civil servants, policy-makers and commentators to champion better work and working lives. An important part of her role is to ensure that the views of the profession inform CIPD policy thinking in ER areas such as health and well-being, employee engagement and employment relations.

As well as developing policy on UK employment issues, she helps guide the CIPD’s thinking in relation to European developments affecting the world of work. Rachel is a qualified HR practitioner and researcher; her prior roles include working as a researcher/editor for XpertHR and as a senior policy adviser at Acas.

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