What is an automatically unfair dismissal?
- membership of, or activities connected to, an independent trade union;
- taking legitimate steps to ensure the observance of workplace health and safety requirements;
- carrying out the functions of an elected employee representative or candidate for election or taking part in an election for reps;
- carrying out the functions of an occupational pension scheme trustee;
- a reason relating to jury service;
- disclosures of wrongdoing under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (whistleblowing);
- pregnancy or childbirth;
- asserting any statutory right, for example:
- refusing to work on a Sunday if working in retail or betting (unless part of your existing contract);
- seeking entitlements under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998;
- a reason relating to information on a blacklist; or
- a reason relating to pensions auto-enrolment.
For most automatically unfair dismissals, no service is needed. There is an exception for automatically unfair dismissals because of a TUPE transfer or because of a spent conviction. In both these cases, two years’ service is required.
An employer cannot justify or defend a dismissal which is automatically unfair.