More than 4,000 workers have brought unfair dismissal cases against their employers in the last five years.
New figures also reveal the impact the pandemic has had on such cases, with the average annual figure dropping by half in 2020.
There are several reasons someone can bring an unfair dismissal case.
These include if the employer does not have a fair reason for the dismissal — for example, if the worker’s performance has been up to standard — or if the employer does not follow the correct process when the person is being sacked.
There are also automatic unfair dismissals, such as if the worker wanted to take maternity leave, or was a whistleblower making a disclosure in the public interest.
Last year there were 367 unfair dismissal cases registered with the Office of the Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunals, a significant decrease from 2019’s figure of 706.
Since 2015 there have been 4,257 local unfair dismissal cases.
People Before Profit’s Gerry Carroll said the fact more than 4,000 workers have taken unfair dismissal claims forward to tribunal shows the need for “urgent reform of our employment laws to protect workers and to stop employers taking liberties and dismissing workers unfairly”.
“I am currently progressing legislation through Stormont that hopefully strengthens workers’ rights and allows more workers to join a trade union to prevent this disgraceful practice from continuing,” the West Belfast MLA said.
“These figures in and of themselves are a stark warning about how workers are taken advantage of.
“However, my concern is that the true reality of this practice may not be encompassed with these figures, as many are unfortunately unable to bring a case forward to a tribunal.
“The Executive has unfortunately not legislated to improve workers’ rights, but instead kept archaic employment legislation on statute.
“Workers kept our society functioning during the pandemic.
“The very least the Executive parties can do now is to ensure that unfair dismissals cease completely.”