Increase in service requirement for unfair dismissal

From 6 April 2012 the qualifying period of service to bring an unfair dismissal claim increases from one to two years. The increase will only apply to new employees who start employment on or after 6 April.

Employees will still be able to bring unfair dismissal claims with lesser service for protected reasons such as whistleblowing, reasons related to pregnancy and maternity and dismissal for trade union related reasons. Employees are also able to bring claims for discrimination without any service requirement for reasons related to age, sex, race etc.

Therefore, companies should ensure when contemplating dismissing someone within a 2 year period (or after for that matter) that they use consistent procedures and have evidence to demonstrate that dismissal was for a non-discriminatory and fair reason.