Employment law: Unfair dismissal and the three-month rule


By Joanna Yates

“There certainly are a lot of rules in employment law”

This is what one client observed, after I broke the news to him that no matter how good his case was, the three-month rule prevented him from making a claim for unfair dismissal against his employer.  If there is one rule to remember for employment law, it should be the three-month rule.

What is the three-month employment law rule?

There is a strict three-month time limit for making an employment law claim to an Employment Tribunal. You must submit your claim for unfair dismissal to an Employment Tribunal within three months of the date your employment was terminated. This still applies if you are in the process of going through the internal complaints procedure with your employer after you have left your employment.

In exceptional circumstances the three months can be extended but this is extremely rare and must not be relied on.

“But I didn’t know that”...

Employment law is based entirely on statute law, which makes it is very black and white.  This means that not being aware of the three-month rule is not an exception to the rule, no matter how good your case is. Every day I speak to people who have waited longer than three months after being dismissed before contacting a solicitor and I have to tell them that it is too late.

If you feel you have an unfair dismissal claim, my firm advice is that you risk not being able to act at all if you do not act quickly.

Why contact an employment solicitor?

Getting over the first hurdle and contacting a solicitor within three months is a great first step.

A specialist employment solicitor can advise you on whether you have an unfair dismissal claim against your employer and take on your case to represent you if you do. Winning at an employment tribunal could provide you with compensation for losing your job or force your employer to give you your job back.

Joanna Yates is one of Contact Law’s most experienced and knowledgeable telephone advisors.

Contact law works regularly with successful employment law solicitors covering all employment law problems - contact us on 0800 1777 162 or fill in a web-form to talk with one of our advisors.

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