Simply put, if you are an employee you have the right not to be unfairly dismissed from your place of employment.
Unfair dismissal is a statutory claim which applies if the employer’s actions and decision making process for the dismissal are not found to be reasonable. Unlike wrongful dismissal, this is not a claim for breach of contract. Instead, the focus is on the employer’s actions and reasoning behind the decision to dismiss the employee and whether the employer has acted in a way that can be described as objectively ‘fair’.
Actions for Unfair Dismissal can only be brought through the Employment Tribunal. In order to be eligible to make an Unfair Dismissal claim, you need to have been in continuous employment with your employer for no less than one year. However, this time limit is due to be extended. If you bring a claim after 6 April 2012, you must have been with your employer for two years.
The onus is on the employer to show that the reason the employee was dismissed was one of five reasons permitted by law (the capability of the employee, the conduct of the employee, redundancy, to continue employing the employee would be illegal, or some other substantial reason - that the employer must show is substantial). The tribunal will also take a close look at the employer’s reasoning process for dismissing the employee and whether the reason provided was sufficient to warrant dismissing the employee. If the employment tribunal finds that either the reason provided by the employer was not one of the five permitted reasons, or that the employer acted unreasonably or illogically, the employee’s dismissal will be unfair.
If the dismissal is found to be unfair, the employee is given the choice of whether to be re-instated in his or her job, or re-engaged (moved to a different job in the same company). If neither of the above solutions is either satisfactory or practical, the employee will be entitled to claim unfair dismissal compensation. The compensation available in unfair dismissal cases will vary according to the circumstances of the employee as well as what the tribunal considers ‘just and equitable in all the circumstances’. In order to find out how much you would be entitled to, we recommend you speak to a specialist employment solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
If you think you may be entitled to unfair dismissal compensation or are concerned you might have been unfairly dismissed, Contact Law can put you in touch with a specialist employment solicitor in your local area free of charge. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form on the right hand side of this page.
- Last Updated on 11/07/2012