What is an unfair dismissal?
Your employer can only dismiss you for a fair reason, and after following a fair process. For your dismissal to be considered unfair, you need to be able to prove that your employer had no fair reason for the dismissal, or that the dismissal was automatically unfair.
You may also have a claim if you can show that no reasonable employer would have dismissed you under the circumstances, or where your employer has followed an unfair process.
Who can bring a claim for unfair dismissal?
You can only challenge an unfair dismissal if you were an employee. You might have been an employee even if your employer or your contract said you were self-employed. You might not have been an employee if for example you weren't guaranteed to get any work.
If you don’t have dismissal rights, you can still ask the organisation you work for to reconsider your dismissal.
Have you been dismissed?
You can challenge a dismissal if you can show it actually happened. You have been dismissed if, for example, your employer has ended your contract with or without notice, or refused to renew your fixed-term contract, or has made you redundant, or stopped your coming back to work from maternity leave.
What are fair reasons for dismissal?
Your employer can only dismiss you for one of five fair reasons:
- Conduct – this can be for a serious incident or a series of minor incidents, such as failing to follow instructions, persistent lateness, dishonesty, bullying, or fighting
- Capability – such as poor performance or attitude, lacking the right skills or aptitude, or ill health
- Redundancy – where your workplace closes down or there is a reduced need for a particular role
- Some other substantial reason – such as a personality clash, third party pressure from a client, or you unreasonably refuse to accept a change to your terms and conditions
- Statutory restriction – such as a lorry driver being disqualified from driving
A dismissal in relation to one of the nine protected characteristics will usually be unfair and you may also have a claim for discrimination.
How can we help you?
When will a dismissal be automatically unfair?
Some examples of when a dismissal will be automatically unfair and you don’t need two years’ qualifying service:
- dismissal because you asked for your legal rights at work (called asserting a statutory right), for example to be paid minimum wage
- you were dismissed because of your part-time or fixed-term status
- you took action about a health and safety issue
- you are pregnant or on maternity leave
- you exercised your right to paternity leave
- you have reported your employer for wrongdoing, which is called whistleblowing
What is the ACAS code of practice?
The ACAS code of practice emphasises that employers and employees should always seek to resolve their workplace issues internally before resorting to legal action and it sets out the principles for handling disciplinary and grievance situations fairly.
Unfair dismissal laws require your employer to act reasonably and that a fair disciplinary procedure should include an internal hearing at which you can be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative. Ultimately a tribunal will decide what was reasonable in the circumstances.
How long do I have to bring a claim?
To make a claim for unfair dismissal you need to act fast as the time limit is short. You only have three months less one day from the date your employment was terminated, so you should contact us as soon as possible. The first step in making a claim is to contact ACAS and start the early conciliation process.
How can we help?
We can help with ACAS early conciliation and will speak to the conciliator and assist by clarifying your claims and the issues between you and your employer. We can also help you negotiate a settlement. If your employer won’t offer you fair compensation we can help you to pursue a claim in the employment tribunal.
To speak to one of our employment experts you can call 03300 532182. Alternatively, you can fill out the form on this page or send an email with details of your claim to email@example.com. Our solicitors are on hand to discuss how we can help.
Employment Law FAQs
Didn’t find the answers you were looking for? Look at the FAQs below for more information on our employment law claims process.
You can make an unfair dismissal claim if you've been in continuous employment for at least two years.
Under the terms of the Equality Act 2010, it's your right to claim for unfair dismissal if you've been discriminated against during your employment.
The amount of compensation you could receive for unfair dismissal varies depending on several factors, including the specific circumstances of your case and the jurisdiction in which you are filing the claim.
When assessing the compensation for unfair dismissal, employment tribunals typically consider the following elements:
Basic Award: This is calculated based on your age, length of service, and weekly pay, and it is subject to a statutory cap. The exact calculation formula may differ depending on the jurisdiction.
Loss of Earnings: The tribunal will consider the actual financial loss you suffered as a result of the unfair dismissal. This may include the income you would have earned during the notice period or until you find alternative employment.
Future Losses: In certain cases, if it is determined that you will experience difficulties finding new employment or face a significant reduction in earnings, the tribunal may award compensation to cover future losses.
Benefits and Bonuses: If you lost out on benefits, bonuses, or other entitlements due to the unfair dismissal, the tribunal may consider including these in the compensation.
Each case differs and there is no set amount of compensation you will receive.
Workplace bullying is offensive, intimidating and malicious behaviour that's intended to undermine an individual or group of employees.
If you think you're a victim of workplace bullying, then you should raise this with your employer and bring evidence if possible.
Our hourly rate is £177 + VAT of £35.40.
We have different pricing options: –
- We can offer our service under a Damages Based Agreement – “No Win, No Fee”. If your claim is successful, we will charge you 35% of any compensation received inclusive of VAT.
- We can accept instructions on a private paying basis:
- Simple case – £5,000 + VAT of £1,000 – £7,000 + VAT of £1,400
- Medium complexity case – £7,000 (+ VAT of £1,400) – £12,500 (+ VAT of £2,500)
- High complexity case – £12,500 + VAT of £2,500 – £17,500 + VAT of £3,500
- If you have legal expenses insurance we can work alongside your insurer in line with the terms of the policy.
Counsel’s fees for a hearing could amount to anything as high as £1,500 + VAT of £300 per day.