5 fair reasons for dismissal

The lockdown that was to control the pandemic resulted in 7.6 million people risked being fired in the UK only.

Being dismissed from your job is a naturally huge stress. Especially if it feels unfair. Read the below article to understand what are unfair dismissal cases, if there are ways to appeal your contract termination, and under what circumstances, dismissal is considered legal and fair.

Alarming signs

Before getting the official announcement that your boss decided to fire you, an attentive employee can notice that something is going to happen. The relation between you and your team lead will inevitably change and you may try to use these alarming signs to get ready for the bad news and maybe even to start looking for another job.

  • Your boss is constantly dissatisfied with your work. They may become really critical of what you do, say, and even how you behave in the office environment. If you feel that you start to annoy your boss and it lasts for some time, it can be the first alarm. What you can do is ask a direct question to clarify whether something is going on.
  • It becomes hard to get feedback on what you do. When the decision to dismiss someone is made, there is no need to spend time commenting on their work. That is why you may feel that your manager is avoiding you and is hard to reach. If you try to approach them in person, use corporate messengers, send emails, and still it takes too long to get any reply, then you can try talking to the next person in charge and explain the situation. Crossing all the t’s is always a good idea, as it will let you know the news sooner, even if it is bad news.
  • The tasks you usually got are delegated to your teammates. Since your opinion no longer matters and the quality of the job you do is no longer founded satisfactory, your superior may want to ask someone else in the team to do the job instead of you. This is also a way to test other employees and make sure firing you is the right decision, as there is always someone who can do the job better.

Fair and unfair reasons

Employers can terminate contracts with their employees. However, they need to follow all the legal rules and procedures, otherwise, an employee can challenge the dismissal if it happened due to unfair reasons.

Below are the steps you need to undertake to make sure your employer had the legal right to end your contract.

  • Clarify your legal status in the company, if you had an official contract, signed both by you and the company representatives in charge;
  • One of the most important questions is if you have worked in the company long enough. Usually, it is only possible to question the dismissal if you have been working in the company longer than 2 years;
  • Try to get a written letter from the employer, a letter or an email should contain a clear reason why the contract was ended, so you can see if it was an unfair dismissal case.
  • Check if the reason stated was fair.

Challenging wrongful dismissal

If you realized that you have been fired due to an unfair reason you can question it within 3 months.

  • First, collect the proof that you’ve been actually dismissed. You will need to show that the dismissal really happened. Try to get the written evidence that your employer ended your contract letting you know about it or even without notice. Alternatively, they could have refused to renew your agreement that has already expired. If you’ve been on maternity leave or on parental leave and were prevented from returning to work, this is also a dismissal. There are cases when you are made to sign the contract termination under pressure or your employer seriously broke the contract and you decided not to continue working with them. In these cases, you are recommended to get in touch with a legal advisor who specializes in employment rights.
  • Try to get the confirmation that you’ve been officially employed as a full-time or a part-time employee in the company. If you were self-employed or worked from an agency, you won’t be able to question your dismissal. But even in this situation, you can ask your employer to reconsider their decision. There are 2 ways to do it, you can question the decision through the employer’s appeal process or place a claim to an employment tribunal (this can be done only if you worked in the company for more than 2 years). Before you ask for reconsideration, you need to make sure that you really want your job back. Think about your prospects in this place after their attempt to dismiss you. In some cases, it is easier and quicker to find a new job and move on.
  • If you are expecting a baby or if you have worked in the company for more than two years: you can ask your employer to give you a copy of a dismissal letter or send you an email containing an explanation, why the dismissal happened.

Automatically unfair reasons

Unfair reasons for dismissal

There are reasons for dismissal that are considered automatically unfair, which means they all need to be challenged and an employee has high chances to get their job back or to get compensation for being dismissed especially if you had a competitive salary. These reasons are as follows:

  • an employee is on maternity/ parental leave or pregnant;
  • an employee demanded for what is provided by the law;
  • an employee took care of their health;
  • an employee didn’t want to work during the weekend;
  • an employee participated in strikes;
  • whistleblowing cases;
  • a company or business was sold to a new owner;
  • discrimination cases (if an employee is pregnant, belongs to a particular race, ethnicity or country, married or not married, belongs to a particular gender, disabled, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, has a certain religion or beliefs, belongs to a particular age).

Reasons for a fair dismissal

There are cases when an employer has full rights to dismiss an employee, these reasons are considered fair and cannot be challenged. There are 5 of them, you’ve been fairly dismissed if it happened due to one of the below reasons:

    Conduct or misconduct

  • Capability
  • Redundancy
  • Statutory illegality or breach of a statutory restriction
  • Some Other Substantial Reason (SOSR)
Below is a detailed description of each of them.


Misconduct happens when an employer was involved in criminal actions, actions demonstrating violence or other examples of socially dangerous behavior. The examples of misconduct can be different, but the chances to get dismissed are higher if gross misconduct took place.

Being drunk while performing duties is considered gross misconduct as well as using drugs or being under their influence at work. Fighting or showing gross disobedience or insubordination can also be the reason for dismissal. Facts of bribery, falsification, and financial misconduct will lead to fair contract termination.


It happens that due to some reasons an employee is not capable of performing their duties. The reasons can be different, it can either be due to health reasons, for example, a person has to be on sick leave a lot. On the other hand, an employee can just show poor performance during a long period of time and show no desire or ability to improve.

Sometimes when an employee is actually coping with their job, employers can still fire them on grounds of capability if they are not able to deal with other team members, clients, or partners, and show disrespect and inability to cooperate.

In the after pandemic world companies in public and private sectors use this reason more and more often as it helps them to avoid paying redundancy compensation package. Though it is hard to show high performance working from home, it is still possible to find motivation and show good results. To learn more about how to stay productive, refer to our recent blog post.


Another legal reason why an employee can be dismissed is when they have lost a legal right to work in this country. This is a legal reason for dismissal. For example, an employee had a license to perform their role, the license has expired and an employee is no longer able to legally perform their duties. It is called a statutory breach.

However, even in these cases, a formal dismissal procedure must still be followed.


Redundancy happens when your employer needs to reduce their workforce and your role in the company becomes redundant. It is important to remember that if your role is redundant and you are dismissed you have certain rights:

  • you can get a redundancy pay;
  • employees need to be informed about it beforehand;
  • they can have a consultation with the employer;
  • company workers have the right to ask for a different job in the company and can expect a rotation or a move;
  • they are eligible for some time off to find a new job.

Some Other Substantial Reason (SOSR)

There are no limitations to what can be considered under some other important reasons. However, the most common examples usually include:

  • Business reorganisation. The business is changing, and though the number of employees is not reducing, the role is no longer available
  • An employee refuses to accept new terms. When an employer needs to change the terms of the contract and an employee disagrees on the new terms. The company needs to prove that the changes are inevitable and essential for the sake of the business. In this case, the dismissal procedures need to be followed as well.
  • Personality clashes. Conflicts between two or more personalities can cause serious disruption and if other measures taken do not help, there can be no other way than dismiss a person negatively affecting the team or another person.

Even if you were fired legally and in a fair way, this should not be the reason for despair. Dismissal happens to all people one day, just try not to take it too personally. Analyze what happened, what you can do to prevent such situations in the future, and start looking for other options. At FarFarJob you can find vacancies in programming, design, system administration, marketing, and other spheres.

If you plan a career shift and have no special skills or just want something temporary, refer to our guide on jobs that require no investments of time and money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you dismiss someone for no reason?

All employers are different, one can get fired unexpectedly and for no legal reason. If there is no clear and written agreement between an employer and an employee, than employer can state avoid stating anything as the reason for dismissal. Some companies prefer doing so, as they can create any reason afterwards in case an employee demands an appeal.

An employee can also benefit from it, as they can call any contract termination a dismissal. And in this case they are subject to benefits as unemployed.

What am I entitled to if I get sacked?

Benefits you get in many ways depend on the state and federal law and on the reasons you were dismissed. Besides, no matter why the company decided to end the contract, try to leave in a polite and decent way. Not only because it may affect your future career, but also because it may influence the compensation you get from the company. Before you leave, you can ask for severance pay, vacation payments, overtime (if it took place), and sick pay.
You can also check if your insurance will be still in effect when you leave and if you are eligible for unemployment insurance.

Does termination affect future employment?

The first thing that is usually affected by an unfair or even fair dismissal is your self-esteem. It is hard not to question your skills, abilities, experience, and adequacy. However, even if you made mistakes and your performance didn’t meet the expectations of your boss, this does not mean you won’t succeed in a different working environment. Another thing is that you may feel so offended that it may become obvious for your next employer. Try to keep your head cool and do not say rude words about your former place of work. This can hardly become a good recommendation for you.

What are the types of termination?

There are two types of termination — involuntary and voluntary. Involuntary termination happens when an employer initiates the contract termination as they no longer need this or that employee or do not want to continue working with them.

Voluntary termination is initiated by an employee. It includes cases when an employee resigns or chooses to end the contract. Termination types are not usually reported officially, but sometimes it is required to show the type of termination to get the paycheck corresponding to it.

Final thoughts

Think positive

Being dismissed is as frustrating as it can be unexpected. However, to increase your chances of getting hired try to keep positive.

Your attitude will be obvious in both your cover letters and during the interviews. So try to sound confident and produce an impression of a strong candidate. This may be easier to say than to do in reality, so if you feel that you are not coping, consider talking to a psychologist or a coach to settle down all the negative feelings.

Remember that even if you were fired in many cases you are eligible to unemployment benefits that may help you to make the ends meet while you are looking for a new job.

After you have recovered, think about how you can update your resume. Add the new personal and professional skills you have acquired at your recent job. If you haven’t updated it for some time maybe it is worth adding a fresh photo and making it all look a bit more up to date. Do not forget to mention the experience you got at your last position.

When the resume is ready you can reach out to your professional network with the news that you are in the process of a job search. Using your social media accounts for this is not the worst idea either as well as browsing job boards and setting job alerts from companies you would like to work for.

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