About your employment

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Legal Term Meanings

If you have been dismissed for an automatically unfair reason – you usually do not need to the two years’ qualifying service and you do not have to prove that your employer was unreasonable for dismissing you for this reason. Examples of automatic unfair dismissal reasons include: whistleblowing, part-time/fixed term working, family leave, health and safety, trade union activity, being an employee representative, agency worker, TUPE Transfer, making a flexible working request.

When you are treated so badly by your employer or someone at work that you have the right to resign and claim unfair dismissal. Examples of bad behaviour include: reduction in your salary, change in duties, discrimination against you, failure to address your grievance, bad handling of a disciplinary, excessive workload, intolerable working environment, inappropriate/bullying behaviour by another employee, inappropriate/bullying behaviour by a third party e.g. a customer.

The employment law definition of “disability” is if you have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. If you have HIV, Multiple Sclerosis or Cancer you are considered “disabled” for employment law purposes. Other impairments which may be a “disability” if they meet the other conditions I.e. has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities are described in paragraph A5 (page 8) here. There are impairments which will not be regarded as a “disability” for employment law purposes, these are listed in paragraph A12, page 11 here.

When you are dismissed or treated less favourably due to a protected characteristic.

Legal term for sacking or termination of employment by your employer.

For your employer to dismiss you fairly, it needs to follow a fair dismissal procedure – this includes things like telling you why you are being dismissed, holding a dismissal meeting where you have the right to put your case forward, allowing you to be accompanied at that meeting by a colleague or trade union rep and giving you the right to appeal the dismissal.

For your employer to dismiss you fairly, it must have a fair reason. The list of fair reasons is: (a) poor performance/capability (b) misconduct (c) redundancy (d) legal restriction and (e) some other substantial reason.

Your employer can dismiss you on the spot if you are guilty of a sufficiently serious offence (e.g. assault, theft).

Misconduct not amounting to gross misconduct is bad behaviour at work usually over a period of time and usually it is bad behaviour you have committed more than once.

Most employment contracts contain a written term which states how much notice must be given by either the employer or employee. If you were dismissed “on the spot” you were dismissed without notice. If you either worked your notice period or were made a payment “in lieu of notice”you were dismissed with notice.

The amount of notice that needs to be given by you or your employer in your contract of employment.

Where your employer makes a payment for your notice peroid instead of you working your notice period. Also known as PILON.

The redundancy “pool” is a pool of employees doing similar work who may all be at risk of redundancy. It is possible to have a “pool of one” so that no-one else is doing similar work to you.

Any of the following: age (young or old) disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation. It could be you who has the protected characteristic or someone else (e.g. your child) and you may not have the protected characteristic but if your employer perceives you to have that protected characteristic (other than marriage or civil partnership) you will have employment law rights associated with that protected characteristic.

Includes colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins. See paras 2.36 to 2.49 of the EHRC guide here for more information.

Religion or Religious or Philosophical belief. Includes a lack of religion or belief. See paras 2.50 to 2.61 of the EHRC guide here for more information.

When there is no longer a requirement for a job.

Where you choose to terminate your employment with your employer.

When a company reorganises its work and/or its people, this can often lead to redundancies.

Scoring applied to you and your colleagues to determine who should be made redundant. Criteria can include – scoring on performance appraisals, sickness absence, disciplinaries.

When your employer changes either because the business you work in has been sold or because the service you are providing is being provided by someone else.

When you have been dismissed by your employer either without a fair reason for dismissal and/or your employer has not acted reasonably in dismissing you e.g. has not followed a fair procedure.

“Blowing the whistle” This usually means making a statement to your employer which you reasonably believe is in the public interest and tends to show that, for example, a criminal offence has been committed, a breach of a legal obligation has taken place or there is danger to health and safety of an individual.