When your employment contract comes to an end by your employer requiring you to leave it is said that you have been “dismissed”.
Any employee who has worked for an Employer for more than one year has statutory rights written into his contact of employment not to be unfairly dismissed. For certain statutory rights e.g. maternity these are given immediately and you do not wait one year.
This means that in order to dismiss fairly the employer has to use a fair procedure to reach a decision to dismiss for a reason that Statute says is fair. A fair reason can be for redundancy or capability of the employee or conduct of the employee or that the employee could not continue to work without contravening a statutory duty or restriction.
If an employee is dismissed with these statutory rights the burden is on the employer in any employment tribunal claim to establish a fair reason and procedure for the dismissal.
The original idea was that employment legislation would create an environment where the non lawyer could understand rights and obligations in employment. Instead, even an experienced employment solicitor has to keep regularly updated with the many changes to the law from the cases being fought in the Tribunals and the Courts.
Therefore if you have been, or are being dismissed, or if you are an employer who wants to dismiss someone you will need legal advice on your rights and obligations to make a correct decision either that you have a claim for unfair dismissal compensation or to avoid one being brought against you successfully.