Being fired is probably not something you want to contemplate, and the law does protect you from employers who simply decide your face no longer fits. Many dismissals are automatically unfair and don’t require you to have worked for the employer for at least one year. However, after your employer has employed you for a year, extra protection means that you can’t be unfairly dismissed, and if you are, you can take a case against your employer at an employment tribunal for compensation, which I explain in the upcoming section ‘Taking a Case Against Your Boss.’ Your employer can fire you for misconduct; on the grounds that you aren’t capable of doing the job; or because the company’s facing a downturn in business and needs to cut jobs and your job is redundant. But your employer has to have a fair reason for firing you and has to follow all the right procedures, or the dismissal is considered unfair.
If you’re guilty of gross misconduct – something as serious as hitting a colleague or fraud – you can be fired because the relationship between the two of you has broken down. In theory, in those kinds of circumstances, you can be fired without notice, but even then the employer is taking a big risk if he doesn’t fully investigate the situation and give you an opportunity to explain yourself. If you’re fired because you’ve complained about a situation at work or you’ve been forced to leave work because of something your employer has or hasn’t done, it may count as unfair dismissal, too.
If you’re at risk of losing your job, talk to your union representative or go to your local CAB for advice.