Making an Unfair Dismissal Claim

In this article our Employment Solicitors explain what unfair dismissal is, provide examples of unfair dismissal situations, case studies, and who is entitled to make an unfair dismissal claim for compensation.

To find out if you have grounds to claim for unfair dismissal, get in touch with our Employment Solicitors for free initial legal advice.

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What is Unfair Dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is when you are dismissed from your job in circumstances where your employer has failed to act reasonably, or your employer fails to follow the correct procedure.

If you are an employee and you have been with the organisation for two continuous years or more, you may be entitled to make an unfair dismissal claim.

Use our Unfair Dismissal Compensation calculator to see how much your claim could be worth.

You only have three months less one day to make a claim. Before making a claim you are required to contact ACAS to go through a process known as early conciliation. The conciliation period has the effect of extending the time limit for bringing a claim. Due to the strict time limits involved, obtaining timely legal advice is generally advised.

Unfair Dismissal Explained

An employer is allowed to terminate your employment, but only under certain circumstances.

Firstly, there must be a fair reason for your dismissal. A fair reason could include:

  1. Conduct, e.g. theft or abusing a colleague
  2. Capability – this could be on grounds of ill-health or performance
  3. You cannot continue your role because it would contravene a law or restriction
  4. Redundancy
  5. Some other substantial reason – e.g. if you are working on a customer’s premises and they no longer want you on site.

Secondly, if your employer dismisses you for a ‘fair reason’, the correct procedures must be followed. These are set out in your employer’s internal policies, and under the ACAS Code of Practice.

The precise process for an unfair dismissal case depends on the situation. For instance, where there is a redundancy, there should be a fair redundancy selection process and a proper consultation. If you are being dismissed for misconduct, there should be an investigation into your behaviour.

If you have been dismissed from your job, ask yourself – were you dismissed for one of the five reasons listed above? And, was the correct process followed? Within this, your employer should still act reasonably and proportionately. It may that you did engage in an act of misconduct. However, your employer may have taken the decision to dismiss you when a final written warning would have been more appropriate. 

Examples of Unfair Dismissal

Below are various examples of unfair dismissal. Some dismissals are deemed automatically unfair. This includes if you are dismissed from work because:

  • You’re pregnant or go on maternity leave
  • You ask for your legal rights to be met
  • You participate in trade union activities
  • You highlight health and safety concerns
  • You’re a whistleblower
  • The business was transferred to another owner

In certain circumstances a dismissal can also give rise to a discrimination claim. Examples could include where and individual with a disability has been dismissed on capability grounds. Discrimination could also arise where an individual has been dismissed because of their age.

Unfair Dismissal Case Studies

Making an Unfair Dismissal Claim

If your dismissal is unfair, you could be entitled to make an unfair dismissal claim. This is when you take legal action against your former employer. If successful, you are awarded compensation to cover your financial losses together with a basic award, calculated based on your number of years’ service and gross weekly pay. If applicable, you could even be reinstated to your former role.

However, only certain people are allowed to make an unfair dismissal claim. First of all, you must be an employee, rather than self-employed or a contractor. Typically, you must also have been employed with the organisation for two continuous years or more.

It can be confusing to know whether you meet the requirements for an unfair dismissal claim. Our Employment Solicitors can clarify the situation for you.

We know how upsetting it is to lose your job. We are here to provide practical legal advice during this difficult time – all delivered in plain English, without the legal jargon.

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