What is an automatically unfair dismissal?

  • Some dismissals are considered to be so serious that they are classified as being automatically unfair.
  • Most dismissals carry a maximum penalty of 12 months, but the court can award a penalty of up to 24 months for an automatically unfair dismissal.
  • A dismissal is automatically unfair if it arises out of:
    • Violating an employee’s right to freedom of association – e.g. dismissal for joining a union.
    • Participating in a protected strike
    • Not doing the work of another who is participating in a protected strike.
    • Refusing to accept a change in working conditions
    • The employee’s pregnancy
    • Unfair discrimination e.g. race or gender
    • The transfer of the business as a going concern
    • A contravention of the Protected Disclosures Act
    • Taking action against the employer in terms of the Labour Relations Act
Employment Practices Liability