Claiming Compensation for Unfair Dismissal - Prolegal

Claiming Compensation for Unfair Dismissal

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Please get in touch with us straight away if you are affected by unfair dismissal.  We can offer legal advice. Time limits can be short so we recommend taking formal advice as soon as possible. 

Unfair dismissal is one of the most common Employment Tribunal claims.

In most circumstances, in order to bring an unfair dismissal claim you must have been have been employed for at least a year (this has now been increased to two years for anyone whose job started on or after 6 April 2012).

The qualifying period of employment does not apply if you were dismissed for one of a number of reasons, the most common of which are:

  • You were dismissed because you asserted a statutory right
  • You were dismissed for making a protected disclosure (i.e. you raised concerns about a breach of a legal obligation – including an obligation owed to you under your contract of employment). This is commonly known as “whistleblowing
  • You were dismissed for family reasons (e.g. because you were pregnant or on maternity leave)
  • You were dismissed because you were a part-time or fixed term employee
  • You were dismissed for a health and safety reason
  • You were dismissed because of your trade union membership

If your dismissal was for a discriminatory reason (e.g. you were dismissed because of your age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief) you will be able to bring a claim for discrimination even if you have not been employed for a year.

Unfair dismissal applies if your employer dismisses you or you resign because of breaches of your contract by your employer (this is known as “constructive dismissal”). It may also be an unfair dismissal if you were employed on a fixed term contract and it was not renewed when it expired.

To defeat a claim for unfair dismissal your employer needs to be able to show that it dismissed you for a fair reason. Fair reasons are:

  • Conduct
  • Capability or qualifications (e.g. poor performance)
  • Redundancy
  • Breach of a legal restriction (e.g. if you do not have the right to work in the UK)
  • Some other substantial reason – this is a catch-all that allows other reasons to be suggested by the employer

Your employer will also need to show that it followed a fair procedure:

  • In cases of misconduct this means the employer will need to have investigated the allegations and given you the chance to answer them in a disciplinary hearing. Depending on the seriousness of the allegations, your employer may be required to give you warnings before dismissing you.
  • In cases of poor performance you should have been given the chance to improve.
  • In cases of redundancy you should have been consulted about the redundancy and selected fairly as part of that process.

You will only be allowed to bring a claim if you do so within three months (less one day) after the date your employment terminates, so get in touch with us without delay. Our employment law experts can

  • help you draft an appeal against your dismissal
  • advise whether or not an unfair dismissal claim is likely to be successful
  • help you bring a claim for unfair dismissal

Please get in touch with us straight away if you are affected by unfair dismissal.  We can offer legal advice. Time limits can be short so we recommend taking formal advice as soon as possible. 

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Prolegal Solicitors Specialists in Employment Law