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Employment Law Advice — Employees

Unfair/wrongful dismissal

We have a team of specialist employment solicitors on hand to advise you if you think you have been unfairly dismissed.   There are several ways in which your dismissal could be unfair:

  • Your employer does not have a potentially fair reason for dismissing you (see further list below)
  • Your employer did not follow a fair and/or correct procedure when dismissing you
  • You were dismissed for an automatically unfair reason (eg. because you whisle-blew, or health and safety or union related dismissals)

If you are an employee with at least one year’s continuous employment and you have been dismissed from your employment, the onus of proof is on your employer to show that the reason was for one of five potentially fair reasons:

  • Misconduct
  • Incapability or qualification (including capability through ill health)
  • Redundancy
  • Illegality
  • Some Other Substantial Reason (SOSR) which justifies the dismissal

Your employer showing that the dismissal was for one of the above reasons does not itself make the dismissal fair and an employment tribunal will still need to decide whether your employer dismissing you for that reason was within the range of reasonable responses (within the range of responses a group of reasonable employers would have considered in the circumstances).  Also the Tribunal will consider whether the dismissal procedure used was fair (compliant with the ACAS code on disciplinary and grievances procedures) and any contractual disapllinary procedure and the principles of natural justice.

Wrongful dismissal

In common law, you will have a claim for damages against your employer, if your employer has dismissed you in breach of contract, for example by failing to pay you your notice period. This breach of contract action is known as “wrongful dismissal”.

If there is no dismissal, there cannot be a claim for wrongful dismissal and instead, you will have a claim for breach of contract.

A claim for “wrongful dismissal” can be pursued in the civil courts or the employment tribunal. The time limit for issuing a claim in civil courts is six years and there is no upper limit on the level of damages which may be awarded.

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