Employment Compensation Claim Specialists
Do you think that you been unfairly dismissed? Our experienced Unfair Dismissal Solicitors understand that losing your job causes enormous stress. We strongly recommend early legal advice from an expert employment law solicitor.
Our Solicitors provide legal advice to both employers and employees on Unfair Dismissal Compensation Claims throughout Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset and further afield from our offices in Salisbury, Andover, Fordingbridge and Amesbury.
What is Unfair Dismissal?
Every employee, including part-time workers, has the right not to be unfairly dismissed. Unfair dismissal does not, however, extend to the self-employed.
To win an Unfair Dismissal Claim, the employee must have completed two years’ service with their employer [subject to certain exceptions – see below ] and must be able to prove they have been dismissed.
To avoid unfair dismissal, the employer must show that the dismissal was for one of five permitted reasons:
Redundancy arises either when an employer plans closing all or part of a business at the location where the employees work; or where thebusiness no longer needs as many workers to carry on particular work. Full and proper procedure must be followed for redundancy to be fair. Failure to do so is likely to result in the employee being entitled to claim Unfair Dismissal as well as a 10-50% uplift in the compensation award.
The employee may have committed or been accused of a criminal offence at work or out of working hours. It may be reasonable to dismiss that worker; for example if the employee needs a driving licence to conduct their work and they lose their licence, it may be necessary to sack them.
If an employee is not up to the job for which they are employed, does not have the right job qualifications or if they are ill and absent from work for long periods then dismissal under capability may be reasonable.
Employers must follow proper procedure as failure to do so is likely to result in the employee winning an Unfair Dismissal Compensation Claim and an increase in the compensation award.
Persistently breaking work rules, theft or fraud are the most common reasons for dismissal.
As with any dismissal, employers must ensure the dismissal is reasonable in the circumstances and that full and proper procedure has been followed as failure to do so is likely to result in the employee winning an Unfair Dismissal Claim with an increase in compensation.
- Some other substantial reason
If it can be shown that the reason for the dismissal was a ‘substantial reason of a kind such as to justify the dismissal of an employee holding the position which that employee held’ the dismissal is regarded as potentially fair even if it is not one of the other four reasons above.
Exceptions to the 2 year Unfair Dismissal qualification period
There are a number of exceptions to the requirement for 2-year continuous employment in order to qualify for unfair dismissal. The most common of them include:
- Dismissal for keeping to health & safety rules.
- Belonging to refusing to join a trade union, or taking part in trade union activities at an appropriate time.
- Taking part in protected industrial action.
- Dismissal in relation to pregnancy and maternity rights.
- Dismissal on account of Sex, Race, Age or Disability Discrimination [in this particular case, a worker is likely to be better off making a discrimination rather than unfair dismissal claim – because compensation payments are higher in discrimination cases
- Being sacked for “whistleblowing”, where disclosure is in the public interest.
Unfair process of dismissal
Even if an employer shows that the dismissal was for one of the five fair reasons, they must still satisfy an Employment Tribunal that full and proper procedure was followed.
Often this will be a process that has been agreed with a trade union representative (especially in the case of redundancies), or it might be a process that is laid out in the company guidelines. If they fail to follow this process, even if they have a valid reason for dismissing you, it could still count as a case of unfair dismissal.
Employers must follow correct procedures in sacking workers as statistics show about 97% of employers lose unfair dismissal claims by not following procedure correctly.
Reasons for automatic unfair dismissal
As well as reasons for dismissal that might count as unfair and unfair dismissal processes, there are also some reasons for dismissal that count as being automatically unfair. Typically, these reasons relate to your statutory employment rights or your right not to be discriminated against.
For example, if your employer dismisses you because you are pregnant or because you want to take maternity, paternity or adoption leave, this is automatically unfair. If you are dismissed because of your gender, race, disability, age, religion or sexual orientation, this is automatically unfair on grounds of discrimination.
You can also have a potential employment tribunal claim for automatic unfair dismissal if you are dismissed for taking parental leave or time off for dependents, if you are dismissed for refusing to work in a shop on a Sunday or if you make a public interest disclosure.
As there are so many ways in which dismissal could count as unfair, if you think you might have a case of unfair dismissal compensation, it is definitely worth speaking to a specialist unfair dismissal solicitor about the matter.
The need to claim within 3 months
It is essential that any application for unfair dismissal is made within three months of the date of dismissal. Failing to make an application within that time means you simply lose your right entirely.
Be aware delays caused by an appeal procedure – if you’re appealing your dismissal and the internal appeal takes more than three months, and you haven’t made your unfair dismissal application in the meantime, you have lost your right to do so.
Costs and Employment Tribunals
Employment tribunals can award costs against either party but rarely do- it is better to assume both parties will bear their own costs in any unfair dismissal claim.
Contact our Unfair Dismissal Solicitors
Our specialist employment law solicitors can advise on how to dismiss someone fairly as well as dealing with situations where Unfair Dismissal has occurred. Following correct procedure is essential.
For specialist legal advice from an expert Unfair Dismissal Solicitor contact our Salisbury, Andover, Fordingbridge or Amesbury offices today.