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Unfair DismissalMake an Enquiry
Employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed from their work position. Losing a job can be a stressful experience and can result in financial hardship. If your employer does not dismiss you for an acceptable reason, or if they fail to follow correct procedures, then you may have grounds for claiming compensation for Unfair Dismissal.
If you have concerns over the way your employment dismissal occurred and would like to speak with one of our experienced solicitors about your specific circumstances, please contact us on 0800 092 1448 or fill in the form and we will call you back.
We offer free and without obligation advice and if we are able to take on your case then we will offer you a No Win, No Fee agreement.
Please note: If you believe you have been dismissed on grounds of Sex, Race, Age or other similar factors, then you may also be able to pursue a claim for Discrimination.
In order to pursue a claim for Unfair Dismissal, you must meet certain qualifying conditions;
- You must have been an employee working under a contract of employment. If you were self employed you cannot claim for Unfair Dismissal. Please note that not all contracts of employment are necessarily in writing and that some workers who are labelled as self employed are in fact legally considered to be employees. If you have any doubts over your employment status, please contact us for further advice.
- You must have been working for your employer for at least 2 years continuously at the time your employment was terminated. This requirement does not apply to automatically unfair dismissals. Please see below for further details on this exception.
- You must have been dismissed by your employer. This includes dismissals both with and without notice and when the employee has resigned due to a serious breach of contract by the employer.
- A claim for Unfair Dismissal must be submitted to the Employment Tribunal within 3 months of the date your employment came to an end.
Certain dismissals are considered to be automatically unfair. If an employee can prove their dismissal falls within this category they will be eligible to claim for Unfair Dismissal regardless of how long they worked in the position.
Automatically Unfair Dismissals include any termination of employment because of;
- Pregnancy or the taking of maternity, paternity or adoption leave
- Acting as a Health & Safety representative or Trade Union member
- Refusing to work more than 48 hours per week on average
- Insisting on being paid the National Minimum Wage.
An employer should always have a genuine reason for terminating a contract of employment. In addition to this, they must also follow a fair procedure in carrying out the dismissal. If an employer fails to demonstrate either of these, the dismissal may be regarded to be legally unfair and it may be possible for the dismissed employee to claim compensation as a result.
Potentially fair grounds for dismissal include
- Lack of capability or qualification for the job
- Some other substantial reason.
These are considered in more detail below but if you feel your dismissal was for any other reason, you may have grounds to claim for Unfair Dismissal.
An employer who terminates someone’s employment on grounds of redundancy must be able to demonstrate that this is the real and genuine reason for the dismissal. This may be the case if, for example, a business ceases to trade entirely or if the location of the business moves significantly.
It will also apply if business declines and less workers are needed or if the business is reorganised and a particular work post is no longer needed as a result.
If an employee can prove that none of these reasons applied in their situation then it may be found that redundancy wasn’t the real reason for the termination of employment and it may be possible to claim compensation for Unfair Dismissal as a result.
This may apply if, for example, the employer hired new staff to replace those made redundant soon after the dismissal occurred, or where an individual or small number of staff were made redundant in a flourishing business or work department.
Even if redundancies were necessary and legitimate, your employer must also be able to demonstrate that fair redundancy selection procedures were followed.
This is a detailed area of law and you can find more information by following this link to our dedicated page on this area.
The definition of misconduct is wide ranging and can vary in severity. Persistent lateness, unauthorised absences from work, bad language and misuse of work resources (e.g using a work telephone for personal calls) are all potential examples of misconduct.
If an employer dismisses you for misconduct, the full circumstances must be considered to determine whether or not this was fair. The underlying principles are that;
- Your employer should be consistent. For example, dismissing one employee for lateness may be considered unfair if it can be demonstrated that lateness of other colleagues is being tolerated or left unchecked.
- Warnings should be used where possible. It may be considered unfair to dismiss an employee for one incident of unauthorised absence without first providing a verbal or written warning that such conduct is not permissible. Only in cases of extreme or gross misconduct (e.g violence in the workplace, theft etc) would dismissal without warning be justified.
- The facts of each case should be fully established and the employer should not prejudge the situation. The employee should be permitted to respond to any allegations of misconduct before any decision is made.
If you have been dismissed for misconduct and feel the reasons, or the procedures followed, were unfair then please contact us for further advice and assistance.
An employer can potentially make a fair dismissal if they can demonstrate than an employee is incapable of performing, or not qualified to perform, their job role.
This must be the genuine reason behind the dismissal. The employee should usually receive warnings concerning the standard of their work beforehand and given an opportunity to improve their performance. If this does not occur, then there may be grounds for claiming that any resulting dismissal was unfair.
This area is usually relatively straightforward. If, for example, an employee working as a HGV driver should lose their driving licence, it would become illegal for that person to carry on working in that capacity and a termination of employment would not be considered unfair. It could also arise if, for instance, an individual’s work visa expires and renewal is not granted.
If you have been dismissed on grounds that it would be illegal for your employment to continue, or other restrictions prevent you from remaining in your job, and you have reasons to disagree, then please contact us to discuss your situation further.
If you are successful with an Unfair Dismissal claim before an Employment Tribunal then you may receive compensation consisting of both a Basic Award and a Compensatory Award.
The Basic Award is calculated according to your age, your length of service and your gross weekly pay. The maximum Basic Award is capped at £15,240.
The maximum Compensatory Award is 12 months net pay, to a maximum of £83,682.
If the Employment Tribunal finds that your Employer did not follow the ACAS Code of Practice, the amount of compensation awarded can be increased by up to 25%.
For further details on the amount you may receive, please contact us for free and without obligation advice.
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