5 Tips to Help Businesses Avoid Unfair Dismissal Claims

19,000 new cases were submitted to the tribunal, a 10% drop compared to 2021. Of these, 12,000 were multiple cases. Across 2022 as a whole, there have been 11,742 multiple case claims submitted to the tribunal — knowing how to avoid them is essential for employers. 

In the following article, we explain what Unfair Dismissal is and provide 5 tips to help employers avoid it. 

What is Unfair Dismissal?

If an employer does not have a good reason for dismissal or does not follow the correct procedure, then the employee in question could be entitled to claim Unfair Dismissal, provided he/she has attained 2 years of employment service.

When conducting a dismissal there are 5 potentially fair reasons in law that an employer can use as its justification: 

  • A conduct-related reason 
  • A reason related to the employee’s qualifications or capabilities 
  • A redundancy-related reason 
  • Because a statutory duty or restriction prohibited the employment from continuing
  • Some other substantial reasons such as personality clashes or third-party pressure


If an employee successfully alleges he/she was dismissed for one of the following reasons, to name a few, then the dismissal would be deemed automatically unfair regardless of how much employment service he/she has accrued:

  • Requesting flexible working 
  • Asking for maternity/paternity leave 
  • Joining a Trade Union 
  • Needing time off for jury service 
  • Exposing wrongdoing in the workplace (whistleblowing) 
  • Refusing to give up working time rights 


It can be tempting for an employer to assume that avoiding Unfair Dismissal claims is easy once they know the legally fair reasons they can rely on to dismiss an employee However, the procedure followed to carry out the dismissal is just as important and is often where employers fall down. Ensuring that an employee is involved throughout the process, is allowed to be accompanied to meetings and is given the right to appeal any outcome are just some examples of key procedural requirements that need to be met.

Below are 5 management tips to help employers manage dismissals so that the potential for an Unfair Dismissal claim is minimised: 

  • Tackling issues with employees as soon as they occur is an effective measure to prevent them from escalating. 
  • Try to resolve problems as and when they arise by holding informal meetings. 
  • Make it clear to the employee that a more formal process could be used if the issue is not resolved. 
  • Involving HR at an early stage is advisable.
  • Depending on the wording of the contract, if there are legitimate concerns about a new employee, it may be possible to extend the period or dismiss them at the end of it. 
  • Conduct regular appraisals with employees to give an honest assessment of their performance and allow them to raise any concerns. 
  • Do not give overly flattering performance reviews if they are undeserved or exaggerated as it could make proving a fair dismissal more difficult in the future. 
  • Ensure there are written records for each appraisal
  • Stress in severe cases could be classed as a disability in law or could lead to other disabilities. It could also form the basis of a personal injury claim. 
  • If stress could be a reason for an employee’s poor performance (for example they are struggling with the workload) then involve HR immediately as extra care needs to be taken. 
  • Also be mindful that stress is often a factor in Constructive Dismissal claims, where an employee has resigned because of the behaviour of the employer. A signal for this potential situation could be the submission of a grievance by an employee to ensure the grievance is properly and thoroughly handled.
  • If an employee has raised a grievance or claim in the past, ensure that any further allegations against that employee are dealt with fairly and without influence from the previous issues, to avoid Victimisation.

Next Steps

HR and Employment Law responsibilities for a business can be a significant challenge. By outsourcing HR to a team of Employment Law specialists, businesses can ensure that:

  • Risk is prevented through greater awareness of the correct approach to employment matters 
  • Management time spent on disputes is reduced 
  • Employee/employer relations are improved


With the help of specialists, employers can take practical and considered steps to minimise the risk of Unfair Dismissal claims.

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