The Zen Guide to Unfair Dismissal Claims

unfair dismissal claims

There are 4 broad categories of unfair dismissal claims:

  1. You have been unfairly dismissed and you have 12 months’ service

You must be over the age of 16 and have at least 12 months’ continuous service. The relevant section and act is section 6 Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977.

Section 2 of Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977 sets out the employees who are excluded from the protection of the act. These include members of the defence forces, members of an Garda Siochana, and close family members.

Section 3 excludes employees on probation.

12 Months’ Continuous Service Requirement

The requirement for 12 months’ continuous service does not apply if the dismissal is as a result of any of the following:

  • The employee’s trade union membership
  • The employee’s pregnancy, breastfeeding, or giving birth
  • Exercising any protective leave rights
  • Exercising rights in relation to parental leave, force majeure leave, carer’s leave, adoptive leave
  • The Protected Disclosures Act, 2014 (whistleblowing protection).


  1. You have been unfairly dismissed and don’t have 12 months’ service

Refer above for circumstances where you do not need 12 months’ service.

Industrial Relations Acts

Also, you can refer a dispute to the WRC for adjudication under the Industrial Relations Acts. However, if the other party objects to this then the adjudication cannot take place.

  1. You were forced to quit you job because of the conditions at work, or the conduct of your employer or work colleagues (you were in the job for at least 12 months)

This is a constructive dismissal situation. You can learn more about what is constructive dismissal here, and the main tests for constructive dismissal here.

Constructive dismissal cases are hard ones to win. My advice is to take legal advice before you hand in your notice.

  1. You were forced to quit but don’t have 12 months’ service

The same principles apply here as referred to above; generally, you need 12 months’ service to be able to avail of the unfair dismissals legislation.


You may also be interested in