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Automatically unfair dismissals include dismissals connected with:  

  • membership of, or activities connected to, an independent trade union;  
  • taking legitimate steps to ensure the observance of workplace health and safety requirements;  
  • leaving (or refusing to attend) the workplace because of a serious and imminent danger to health and safety;  
  • 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;  
  • making protected disclosures of wrongdoing  (whistleblowing);  
  • pregnancy or childbirth;  

asserting a statutory right, including all those under the Employment Rights Act 1996 and rights relating to trade unions. 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.  

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.
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