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Challenge your dismissal

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

There are 2 ways you might be able to challenge your dismissal:

  • appealing through your employer’s appeal process if they have one
  • making a claim to an employment tribunal - if you have a genuine unfair dismissal claim and have worked for your employer for more than 1 year

Before you appeal to your employer, you need to think carefully about whether you really want your job back. For most people, finding a new job as quickly as possible is the best way to move on from being dismissed - read more about what you can do after you’ve been dismissed.

If you were dismissed for an 'automatically unfair' reason or you were discriminated against, you can make a claim to a tribunal no matter how long you’ve worked for your employer.

You should contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re considering challenging your dismissal - an adviser can help you work out if you have a genuine claim, and your chances of winning it.

Appealing your dismissal with your employer

You can try speaking with your employer to see if they will consider other options, like extra training or completing a probationary period.

If you’re not comfortable speaking to your employer alone, you can get help from a trade union or other organisations. They can go to meetings with you and help negotiate with your employer.

If your company has an appeal process, you can formally appeal your dismissal. Check your intranet or staff handbook, or speak to HR to see what you need to do.

Start your appeal as soon as you can, as there's a time limit if you later want to take legal action- you need to start it within 3 months less 1 day of the day you're dismissed.

Even if you win your appeal, returning to your job might not be the best outcome for you. For example it might be better to leave with a good reference than stay in a job where you don’t feel fairly treated.

Get help from the Labour Relations Agency’s ‘ Pre-claim conciliation service’

If your employer doesn’t have an appeal process, you might be able to get help from an organisation called the Labour Relations Agency (LRA).

They'll see if your employer will agree to a free process called ‘pre-claim conciliation’ - a way to resolve disputes without going to a tribunal.

You can call the LRA Conciliation and Arbitration Department to see if they can help with your situation

You only have 3 months less a day from being dismissed to make a tribunal claim. Taking part in Pre-claim conciliation will not extend this.  You may want to start a tribunal claim at the same time as taking part in pre-claim conciliation. 

LRA Conciliation and Arbitration Department
Website: 028 9032 1442
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Calls from landlines are typically charged up to 13p per minute; calls from mobiles between 3p and 55p per minute depending on your call package.

Deciding if you should make a tribunal claim

Taking your employer to a tribunal is the final way you can challenge your dismissal.

Tribunals can be expensive and stressful, and you may not win your case. You won’t have to pay a fee to make a claim, but you may have to pay for legal representation.

Read more about what to think about before you make a claim to an employment tribunal.

You might get some compensation if the tribunal rules in your favour. Any compensation will usually be based on your weekly pay.

The tribunal will look at whether your employer acted reasonably under the law. For example, if your employer dismissed you for being aggressive, the tribunal will look to see if the decision to dismiss you was reasonable - not whether you were aggressive.

You only have 3 months less a day from being dismissed to make a claim to an employment tribunal, so contact your nearest Citizens Advice straight away if you’re thinking about making a claim.

You’ll need to show the tribunal evidence that your employer didn’t have a fair reason for dismissing you.

Read more about employment tribunals.

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