I have worked for my employer for the last four years, and after returning from furlough during the pandemic have been advised that I no longer have a job. No reason has been given for this. My employer just says that I no longer work there.

I have worked for my employer for the last four years, and after returning from furlough during the pandemic have been advised that I no longer have a job. No reason has been given for this. My employer just says that I no longer work there.

I am sorry to hear that this has happened to you. It is important that you find out the reason that your employer has done this. 

As an employee with two or more years’ service, you can request a written statement from your employer giving the reasons why you have been dismissed. The employer must supply this within fourteen days.

Unfair Dismissal

You will be able to take your employer to tribunal if the dismissal was unfair or was not done for fair reason. You must ensure that you have taken necessary steps to resolve the issues before making a claim to the tribunal, and this must be done within 3 months minus a day of the incident (e.g., being dismissed) occurring. 

As an employee with more than two years’ service, for a dismissal to be considered ‘fair’, it must be for one of five specific reasons. 

These reasons include poor performance or incapability of doing the job; misconduct (e.g., committing crimes); the fact that your employer can no longer employ you (e.g., immigration status prevents it); your role is redundant; or any other reason that is considered substantial.

If your role is being made redundant, your employer must have followed the correct redundancy procedures.

Unfair Dismissal - When is a dismissal automatically considered 'unfair'?

There are situations when a dismissal is automatically considered unfair. 

These situations include dismissal because of pregnancy; family reasons (e.g., parental leave, time off for dependants); representation (including acting as an employee representative); trade union membership / union recognition; part-time / fixed-term employees who are not treated the same; pay and working hours; and discrimination due to protected characteristic(s).

What action can I take?

If the dismissal is for a reason that isn't automatically unfair, then you are limited with the action you can take. 

As you have been with your employer for over two years, your statutory notice period is one week for every year you worked for that employer up to a maximum of twelve (e.g., six years’ service entitles you to six weeks’ notice). This does not apply if gross misconduct occurs. You should check your contract because your employer may give you more than the statutory minimum. 

If your employer does not give you notice, notice pay, or follow the correct procedures, you may have been wrongfully dismissed.

This is a contractual claim rather than a statutory right, and you would have to show that your employer had broken the terms of the contract of employment. 

It does not matter how long you have worked for your employer to take a wrongful dismissal claim to tribunal.

How do I go about dealing with this?

It is important that you speak to the employer informally first to try and resolve the problem. If this approach is unsuccessful, you should follow their grievance procedure, which can be found in the employee handbook if your employer has one. 

Advice Direct Scotland can provide information and advice on a range of issues, including employment, and the next steps you can take. They can check your entitlement to benefits and other sources of financial support that may be available and point you in the right direction on how to apply. 

I hope this helps, and you get the situation resolved. 

You can access free, impartial advice on any topic from advice.scot by contacting 0808 800 9060 or by visiting www.advice.scot.

Advice is available to everyone in Scotland, at no cost, regardless of personal circumstance.