Unfair / Wrongful Dismissal - Employees
Unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal are entirely separate concepts. A dismissal may be unfair or wrongful, both, or, indeed neither.
Every eligible employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed by his employer. In order to give the employee a measure of protection against dismissal, the statutory claim of unfair dismissal introduced the concept of fairness into the termination of employment contracts. Now, your employer must be able to show that, not only did he have good reason to dismiss, but also that he acted fairly in doing so.
Your employer must be able to establish that the only, or principal reason for the dismissal, was a potentially fair reason. The permitted reasons are; capability (or qualifications), conduct, redundancy, illegality (for example a delivery driver being disqualified from driving), retirement, or some other substantial reason. There are circumstances where any dismissal will be automatically unfair. In summary, these are:
- Pregnancy or maternity-related dismissals
- Dismissal for trade union reasons
- Selection for redundancy based on either of the above
- Dismissal following industrial action
- Dismissal for asserting a statutory right
- Health and safety dismissals
- Some dismissal on transfer of a business
- Dismissals where the worker has made a protected disclosure
The ACAS Code of Practice on discipline and grievance procedures sets down minimum standards that your employer should adopt.
You should be given the right to appeal your dismissal internally with your employer in the first instance. The letter confirming your dismissal should set out how to appeal and the deadline for doing so. Our employment law solicitors can advise you on the procedure which your employer should follow in hearing your appeal.
The remedies available to an employee, should the Employment Tribunal find that the dismissal was unfair are; reinstatement or re-engagement or compensation. There are very strict time limits for a claim for unfair dismissal to be presented to the Employment Tribunal (usually three months from the effective date of termination of employment) and we would urge you to seek professional advice at the earliest opportunity. Our specialist employment lawyers are able to offer you specialist advice on your particular circumstances and discuss your options with you.
Wrongful dismissal occurs where a dismissal takes place in breach of contract (typically a failure by the employer to give an employee the contractual notice to which he/she is entitled when the circumstances do not justify instant dismissal). A claim for wrongful dismissal can be brought in either the Employment Tribunal or civil courts. If brought in the Employment Tribunal, it must be presented within three months of the date when the claim arose. A claim in the civil courts for wrongful dismissal, however, can be brought within six years.
If you consider that you may have a claim for wrongful dismissal you should not hesitate to contact our employment law solicitors at Warners to discuss the best way in which to deal with the matter. Our specialist employment lawyers will be able to offer you pro-active and cost-effective advice promptly.
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