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How long do I need to have worked to bring a claim against the employer?

June 29, 2023

There are a number of laws in place to allow employees to feel protected and safe at work. In order to qualify for some of these protections there will a minimum period of employment in some cases. This article is a brief guide to those qualifying periods.

Employment Rights Act 1996:

The Employment Rights Act is a comprehensive Act, covering all employment rights such as unfair dismissal, discrimination, redundancy, and paternity leave. It is UK law which was implemented to ensure employers treat their workers fairly, abiding by the guidelines outlined in the Act.

The timescale in which you are legally within your right to make a claim will depend on the nature of your claim and the terms of your employment contract. If your employer has failed to comply with their duty of care and you suffer as a result, you may be entitled to bring a claim against them.

Unfair Dismissal:

If you have been working for a company and one day you were called into the office to be told they were letting you go with no reasonable justification as to why, you may be able to claim for unfair dismissal under the 1996 Act. The exception to this is if the immediate termination is due to your behaviour, especially if this is violent or aggressive (gross misconduct) or if you have been employed for less than 2 years. An employee is entitled to make a claim when they have worked as an employee for a company for a minimum of 2 years. However, the employer must still abide by the terms of an employee’s contract regardless of the amount of time they have been employed otherwise the employee would have a claim for wrongful dismissal.

Discrimination at work:

If you feel that you are/have been treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic, you may have a claim for discrimination. Protected characteristics include age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or a disability you might have. Depending on the circumstances it may be sensible to consider filing a grievance with the HR department of your employer before contemplating pursuing a claima t the Employment Tribunal but this will depend upon the circumstances of each case. Unlike unfair dismissal there is no specific timeframe you have to have worked for a company before you can pursue a claim for discrimination.


As an employee you are entitled to a minimum notice period of 12 weeks if you have been employed by a company for 12 years or more. One week’s notice if you have worked for them for under 2 years. Anything between 2 to 12-years of employment, you should be given one week’s notice for each year of that employment.If they fail to do so, a claim could be made for wrongful dismissal.

Redundancy claims:

You have the right to a statutory redundancy payment if you are an employee who has worked continuously for your employer for at least two years, and you are being made redundant.

You may also be entitled to statutory redundancy pay when a fixed-term contract of two years or more expires and is not renewed because of redundancy. You could well be within your right to claim for one week’s full pay for each year you worked, and you are 22 or over. However, if you are self-employed or have worked in your job for less than 2 years you are more than likely not entitled to make such claim.

Have you experienced something similar, or are you concerned that you may have been treated unfairly by your employer? Our team of Employment Lawyers would be happy to assist and provide further advice.

You can contact our team of Employment Lawyers on 0121 705 7571, alternatively you can email us at

Bethany Jackson
Paralegal – Wills and Probate Department

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.