A dismissal occurs when an employer terminates an employee’s contract of employment for one of the following potential reasons:

  • a reason related to capability or qualifications;
  • a reason related to the conduct of the employee;
  • that the employee’s position was redundant;
  • that the employee could not continue to work in the position which he or she held without contravention (either on the employee’s part or on that of the employer) of a duty or restriction imposed by or under an enactment;
  • some other substantial reason of a kind such as to justify the dismissal of an employee holding the position which that employee held;

The above can be viewed as potentially fair reasons for dismissal; therefore dismissal for a reason other than that specified above is automatically unfair, for example, dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy, or for asserting a statutory employment right.  

However, in order to demonstrate that a dismissal is fair an employer must also follow the minimum Statutory Dismissal and Disciplinary Procedure and show that they acted reasonably in dismissing the employee for that reason. In other words, an employer must ensure that the reason for the dismissal is one of the five specified above and that the decision to dismiss was reasonable based in all the circumstances, including the completion of a fair procedure.

See Discipline and Grievance, Termination of Employment

Employees - Unfair dismissal

Employers - Dismissal

Telephone Enquiry Point

The Agency’s Enquiry Point is available to employers, employees, trade unions and others. Enquiry Point advisors provide information and advice on a wide range of employment matters. The Enquiry Point is also an important contact point for identifying circumstances, or clients, who would benefit from being referred to other Agency services.

The Enquiry Point provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.

While the advisors cannot provide a legal opinion they can help callers gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as identifying possible options to help resolve their issues.

028 9032 1442

Monday - Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

Contact Us

Please note that we cannot deal with employment-related enquiries by e-mail. To receive information or advice about an employment-related issue, please telephone our Helpline on Belfast 90 321442 where an officer will speak with you directly about your query. Please note that the Agency can arrange the services of an interpreter if required.

If you have an employment relations issue in Great Britain please contact the ACAS Helpline on 0300 123 1100 .

For all non-employment related queries or questions please fill in the box below.