Most of the provisions governing unfair dismissal are to be found in the Employment Rights Act 1996 as amended.
Numerous other pieces of legislation cross refer to unfair dismissal issues. Some important examples include:
- Employment Act 2002 - for example, sections 29-44
- Employment Relations Act 1999 - for example, sections 12, 34 and 37
- Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 - for example, sections 152-167
- The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment ) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/1551) - paragraph 2(2) of the schedule
- The Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment ) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2034) - Regulation 6(3)
- The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 (SI 1999 No 3312)
- The Public Interest Disclosure (Compensation) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/ 1548)
- The Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 1999 (SI 1999/1436)
- The Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/752) - repealed on 6 April 2009
- Employment Relations Act 2004 (Commencement No 3 and Transitional Provisions) 2005 (SI 2005/872)
- The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/1031)
- Employment Act 2008
- The Employment Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2008
- The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/131)
- The Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations 2011
- Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012 (SI 2012/989) – came into force 6 April 2012 and applies to Great Britain
- The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order - updated annually.
Some key legislation including the Employment Act 2008 and the Employment Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 do not apply in Northern Ireland. Information and advice on dismissal are available on nibusinessinfo.co.uk website.
Unfair dismissal is entirely different from wrongful dismissal which is a long-established concept emanating from contract law. For more information on wrongful dismissal claims and damages, and how these differ from unfair dismissal claims, see our Wrongful dismissal Q&As.