What makes a dismissal ‘unfair’ in the eyes of the law?
Employers are entitled to dismiss any member of staff if they can justify one of the reasons set out in the Employments Rights Act 1996. These concern an employee’s inability to carry out their job, and include:
- Not keeping up to date with important changes to the job, such as adapting to new processes or computer systems
- Not being willing or able to work well with colleagues
- Poor conduct
- Long-term illness that prevents the employee from being able to do their job
- Fair redundancies (if your redundancy wasn’t fair you can also make an unfair dismissal claim)
Employers would also be permitted to dismiss someone if their continued employment would break the law. For example, if you were a courier but had recently lost your driving license, dismissing you would be fair. If this has happened to you, you cannot make an unfair dismissal claim.
If your employer didn't follow the disciplinary process
As with any dismissal, your employer is expected to follow the company’s formal disciplinary procedure. This tends to involve several verbal warnings, to try and resolve the issue, and a final written warning before the dismissal takes place. Your employer needs to give you the opportunity to improve as well as reasonable time to recover, otherwise they may have broken the law.
Even if you have been dismissed for a legitimate reason, your dismissal may be classed as unfair if your employer didn’t follow the disciplinary process, meaning you will likely be able to claim for unfair dismissal compensation.
When a dismissal is automatically unfair
When a dismissal breaches your statutory legal rights, it is classed as ‘automatically unfair’.
If your case is classed by a tribunal as automatically unfair, your employer does not have the right to defend their case. They automatically lose. The employment tribunal will then decide on how much compensation you’re entitled to.
Common cases of automatically unfair dismissal claims
If you were dismissed for one of the following reasons, it would be considered automatically unfair:
- You were pregnant or on maternity leave
- You have joined a trade union or act as an employee representative
- You acted as a whistle-blower
- You raised concerns over a health and safety issue
- You asserted your legal rights (such as demanding your right to the minimum wage)
There are more reasons that are classed as automatically unfair, but these are the most common ones.
Our employment solicitors can provide you with further information about automatically unfair dismissal claims and help you assess if your case falls into this category.
Starting your unfair dismissal claim
Appointing a solicitor
Appointing an expert employment solicitor will significantly increase your chances of winning your case for unfair dismissal compensation.
We will guide you through the process and ensure your claim is filed properly with the employment tribunal, giving you the best chance of the maximum possible award.
At the employment tribunal hearing
We will help you prepare and collect evidence for your hearing, and support you on the day too. We can also answer any questions you may have and will make sure you are at ease with the claims process. Unfair dismissal cases can be complex, but our expert solicitors know exactly what to do, so you don’t have to worry.
Unfair dismissal claim support
Our employment law solicitors
All of our employment law cases are handled on a no-win, no-fee basis and we will not charge any hidden fees throughout the process.
We want to help you recover from being unfairly dismissed and help you land back on your feet. If you would like to discuss how we can help you claim unfair dismissal compensation, get in touch today or request a call back.
- Is there a time limit for unfair dismissal claims?
Yes. You need to start the unfair dismissal claims process within three months of the dismissal taking place. Otherwise an employment tribunal will probably reject your case.
Most cases of unfair dismissal can only be taken to the employment tribunal if you have been working for that employer for at least two years. There are exceptions to this, though. If your claim is considered 'automatically unfair' you can take your claim forward even if you were employed for a shorter amount of time.
- How do I make an unfair dismissal claim?
We understand that being unfairly dismissed is a distressing situation to be in. We also understand that starting a legal process against your former employer might be frightening. That's why we're here to stand by you and fight your corner.
Our employment law solicitors will help you gain control over the situation by assessing your case. They will provide you with a detailed overview of your legal options and the likely outcomes if you wish to proceed.
We are here to make sure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. As well as getting you what is known as the 'basic award', we will also strive to win you the maximum 'compensatory award', whilst supporting you every step of the way.
- How is compensation calculated?
Compensation for unfair dismissal is broken down into two different awards - the basic award and the compensatory award.
The basic award
The basic award is worked out in a similar way to redundancy payments. It depends on your age at the time of the dismissal, your years of service and your weekly pay.
If you are aged between 22 and 41, you could expect to receive a week’s pay for every year of service.
If you are 21 or under, you would receive half a week’s pay for every year that you were employed.
If you are 42 or over, your weekly wage would be multiplied by 1.5. You can only count up to twenty years of service when calculating this payment, even if you’ve been with the employer for longer. The maximum weekly wage that you can claim for has been capped at £508, as of April 2018.
The compensatory award
Your compensatory award is based on the wages and benefits you have lost because of the unfair dismissal.
The employment tribunal will make certain considerations, such as assessing how likely you are to find new employment and what financial perks you have lost.
The absolute maximum compensatory award currently stands at £83,682.
Starting the process couldn’t be more simple!
- Contact us Get in touch however suits you best and arrange a consulation with one of our solicitors
- Meet an expert You’ll meet the expert solicitor assigned to your case and discuss all the necessary details
- Authorise Once we’ve got all the details of your case and you’re happy to proceed, just give us the go-ahead
- We get to work It’s time for us to get to work! We’ll set up your file on our system and get to work right away
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