There are strict laws in place that are designed to protect employees from unfair and constructive dismissal from work. When employers break these laws, they are often liable to be taken to court for unfair dismissal. Here are some of the kinds of unfair and constructive dismissals that are unlawful in the UK.
Joining a Union
If you have been fired or made redundant after joining a union, you may have the grounds for an unfair dismissal claim. Workers in the United Kingdom have the right to join a trade union. Trade unions are organizations that represent sector employees and prevent their mistreatment at the hands of their employers. Trade unions were legally recognized in the UK back in 1824, and despite the efforts of some conservative governments, they have remained an important avenue of legal representation for workers ever since. If an employer threatens to dismiss or give less work to an employee due to their union membership, then they may be breaking the law. Some companies operate in a grey area, strongly incentivizing employees against union membership. In some cases, there still may be a case against this behavior in a court of law.
The Conduct of Senior Staff
If senior staff make adhering to a contract impossible through bullying or discrimination, this can lead a staff member to leave their role. This is known as ‘constructive dismissal’ and is a form of workplace injustice. Constructive dismissal sometimes amounts to forced retirement.
Jury service candidates are chosen randomly and are obligated to take time off work while completing their service. During this time, their role at work is protected by law.
Whistleblowing is an important right within companies. If an employee alerts authorities, the press, or other workers to injustices in the workplace, they are protected from being fired as a result by law. Whistleblowers often bear the brunt of efforts by companies to keep embarrassing injustices out of the spotlight. Employees that highlight injustice within the workplace can claim financial compensation if they are unfairly dismissed for this reason.
Maternity or Paternity Leave
Maternity and paternity leave are both protected by law. If a company fires an employee while they are on their legally protected leave due to having a child, then they are breaking the law.
Having Given in a Notice
Almost all workplace contracts require employees to go through a period of notice when they resign. This is designed to give both the employer and employee time to iron out any issues related to the resignation. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous businesses do not respect this legally binding arrangement. If an employee is fired during their notice period, this often counts as unfair dismissal if they are also members of a trade union. Companies fire employees during their notice period to avoid paying them during this time, because they have found a replacement or for more petty reasons, like simple revenge aimed to antagonize the employee.