Unfair Dismissal Claims for Employees

If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed, we can offer you step-by-step guidance on the matter. Your convenience is important to us and we aim to minimise the amount of time you have to spend on the process. We offer video calls to save you from travelling to meet us and you can meet us at times convenient to you.  

Under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2007, you have a choice of a legal remedy – an action for wrongful dismissal in the civil courts or claim within 6 months (12 months in exceptional circumstances) of the date of dismissal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal or Rights Commissioner.  

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Remedies for unfair dismissal apply if you: 

  • are employed under a contract of employment, it can be oral or in writing;  
  • have been dismissed or can prove that the employer’s conduct was so unreasonable that resignation was justified;  
  • have done one year’s continuous service. This is not necessary where dismissal is on grounds of pregnancy or related matters, race, age, religion or trade union activity  
  • are aged 16 years and over.

The Acts still apply if you are employed through an employment agency or directly by your employer.  

The onus is on your employer to prove the dismissal was not unfair. There are certain specific grounds for dismissal that are deemed to be unfair:  

  • trade union membership/activity  
  • pregnancy or related matters 
  • exercising statutory maternity rights  
  • religious or political opinions  
  • age 
  • sexual orientation  
  • membership of the travelling community 
  • taking legal action against the employer 

However, there are also grounds that justify their dismissal of you: 

  • capability, competence or qualification  
  • conduct  
  • redundancy  
  • fixed term contracts 

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Your employer must supply you with written procedures that they will follow before your dismissal, no later than 28 days after you commence employment. Any changes to the procedure must be notified to you within 28 days of the change being made. 

Disciplinary and grievance procedures used by your employer must be rational and fair, the basis for disciplinary action must be clear, the range of penalties that can be imposed must well defined and an internal appeal mechanism should be available. Failure to use or comply with procedures may render a dismissal unfair. 

There are a number of disciplinary actions they can take before your dismissal including oral warnings, written warnings, final written warnings, suspension without pay, transferal to another section of the company and demotion. You should note that there is no rule on the amount of warnings you should get. Where you have engaged in serious misconduct, they may move to a later stage of their procedure more quickly. You can request however, the reason for your dismissal in writing and your employer must supply this within 14 days of the request.  

If you are successful in your unfair dismissal claim to either a Rights Commissioner or Employment Appeals Tribunal, there are different forms of redress that may be available.  

  • Reinstatement or; 
  • re-engagement or; 
  • compensation to a maximum ceiling of 2 years’ remuneration.  

Remuneration includes salary, benefits in kind and employer’s pension contributions. Awards of compensation are generally based on your actual financial loss. 

Make a Free Enquiry

Call us Now on 061 513113, email info@soslegal.ie or complete our Free Online Enquiry form for a free, no-obligation discussion and let us explain your legal options

Gary O’Sullivan

Solicitor, Head of Department

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