We know how stressful being sacked from your job can be, and that can be intensified if you’ve been the victim of unfair dismissal.
Fortunately, you may be entitled to compensation if that is the case. If you believe you have been the victim of unfair dismissal, we can help you decide whether or not your employer’s reasons for letting you go have a sound legal basis.
If you contact First4lawyers, we can assign a specialist employment solicitor to look at the details of your situation and work out whether you have a case. Our experts are ready and waiting for your call.
What is unfair dismissal?
Quite simply, unfair dismissal occurs when you are fired from your job for reasons that UK law deems unjust. It can also occur when your employer has a fair reason for firing you but did not follow the correct procedure. Unfair dismissal is not the same thing as wrongful dismissal
Am I eligible to make a claim for unfair dismissal?
To be eligible to make a claim for unfair dismissal, you must have been working continuously for the same company for two years. However, there are certain reasons for dismissal which a tribunal may deem unfair, no matter how long you have been employed by the business. The law refers to this as automatic unfair dismissal.
Was I fired for legitimate reasons?
There are five main legitimate reasons why your employer may fire you. These include the following:
- Capability – If you lied about your qualifications or health, or you don’t have the skills to do the job.
- Conduct – This may include all sorts of wrongdoing. These vary from (but are not limited to) theft of company information or property, to taking time off without permission, to frequent lateness, to abusive or racist behaviour.
- Redundancy – If employers wish to cut down on their workforce, they must have a clear procedure and stick to it. They must not make seemingly random redundancies or appear to have singled anyone out for redundancy. To be a genuine redundancy, the employer must not refill the same position.
- Breaking the law – This more clear-cut. Breaches of criminal and civil law outside of working hours may constitute gross misconduct.
- Refusal to work with equipment or a colleague – This is deliberately wide in scope to give employers protection against those trying to get fired in order to bring a case of unfair dismissal.
Did my employer use the correct procedure to fire me?
Your employer must follow a formal and reasonable procedure to sack you. Your employee handbook should contain information regarding the correct process. This may include verbal warnings, written attempts to resolve the issue and written final warnings.
UK law considers constructive dismissal to be unfair. This occurs when you have little choice but to resign due to abusive or intimidating behaviour. This can be difficult to prove so it is important to gather as much information as you can.
How will my compensation be calculated?
Compensation for unfair dismissal consists of two elements: the basic award and the compensatory award. The tribunal will calculate the basic award using a fixed statutory formula. You can get an idea of how much that might be using the gov.uk site’s calculator. The basic award is currently limited to a maximum of £11,400.
Your compensatory award is based on the amount of time you have been affected by your dismissal. This is currently limited to a maximum payment of £65,300.
I am a victim of unfair dismissal – what should I do?
There are many processes involved in seeking a claim for unfair dismissal. This should start with an informal meeting between you and the employer. If still unresolved, the case requires the involvement of ACAS; an organisation set up to mediate and seek early resolution. If you still cannot settle your case after mediation, then you may take your claim to an employment tribunal.
While you can represent yourself in such cases, it is highly advisable that you seek the help and advice of experts. Here at First4lawyers, the employment law solicitors we work with have experience in unfair dismissal cases.
For no-nonsense advice from professionals, and a no-obligation discussion about your circumstances, please get in touch with First4lawyers.