Unfair Dismissal

An employee who has been employed by the same employer for at least two years of service has the right not to be ‘unfairly dismissed’. This means that their employer can only dismiss them for one of a number of specific fair reasons and the dismissal must be fair in the circumstances (ie. the employer must follow a fair procedure and the decision to dismiss must be one of a range of reasonable responses available to a reasonable employer).

Some reasons are deemed to be “automatically unfair”. It is important to seek advice as soon as you are aware that there may be an issue. For some, but not all of these reasons, the employee does not need the minimum period of continuous employment mentioned above.

Dismissals which are automatically unfair

There a number of situations in which a dismissal is considered automatically unfair. You are not required to have two years’ continuous employment to be eligible to make an automatic unfair dismissal claim.

Examples of automatically unfair dismissal scenarios include:

  • Dismissals relating to pregnancy, statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, parental, shared parental leave and time off for dependants.
  • Dismissals relating to whistleblowing; and
  • Dismissals relating to trade union membership.

Remedies for unfair dismissal

There are three different remedies for successful unfair dismissal claims.

  1. Reinstatement to your same role with the employer;
  2. Re-engagement of your employment with the employer but in a different role; and
  3. Compensation.

Compensation is the most common remedy sought by employees and consists of two main elements, the basic award and the compensatory award.

The basic award is based on a calculation which takes into account your length of service, age and pay. The purpose of the compensatory award is to put you back in the financial position you would have been in had you not been unfairly dismissed. The award is to cover you to the point you find new employment at the same rate or for a period which the employment tribunal thinks is fair and reasonable but is subject to a limit of years’ earnings.

There is a duty to take reasonable steps to reduce your losses for example secure new employment as soon as possible after being dismissed. Failure to do this could result in a reduction of the amount of compensation awarded by the tribunal.

There is also a duty to comply with ACAS Code of Practice which concerns the procedure followed by you and your employer. Failure to comply with the ACAS Code of Practice by either you or your employer may result in an adjustment of the award made.

If you have been dismissed but you feel that the decision to dismiss you was unfair please contact our employment team for further assistance. There is a time limit of 3 months to make a claim so it is important to act quickly to ensure that this deadline is not missed.

How can we help?

Parrott & Coales has a team of employment law advisers who are happy to help you explore whether you have a claim and assist and can provide advice on how best to pursue it. Feel free to speak to a member of our team on 01296 318 500.