Unfair Dismissal FAQ
Losing your job can be a time when emotions run high and judgment is clouded. Our guide to unfair dismissal should help you decide whether your employer’s reasons for letting you go were legally sound.
This is where your employer has ended your employment in a way that you think is unfair. Your employer could have used a number of different reasons – examples could be poor performance, gross misconduct, redundancy or you have simply been dismissed for no reason at all.
If you have been dismissed for any of the reasons set out above, you could appeal.
If you think you are about to lose your job and you think there is a different reason behind it all, you could raise a grievance.
You can but there are some conditions you have to meet – you have to be an employee and you have to have at least two years’ continuous employment. There are some exceptions to this where you do not need any minimum qualifying period of service and we can help advise you whether this applies – examples are reasons connected with health and safety, whistleblowing, pregnancy and some other family-friendly rights.
Any claim has to be brought to the employment tribunal within 3 months (less one day) of the date you lost your job.
Before you can submit a formal claim, you will have to start what is known as the Early Conciliation Process via ACAS. This is a way to try and see whether you and your employer to see if your complaint can be settled without the need to go through with a formal claim
There are two parts to any claim – the first is a basic award which is based on your age, years of service and average weekly wage (which from 6 April 2018 is capped at £508 per week). The maximum basic award is £15,240
There is then a compensatory award to compensate you for loss of earnings and other direct losses. This is capped at the lower of 52 weeks’ gross pay or £83,682.
Yes, you cannot just wait for your claim to be heard. You will have to try and find another job. If you don’t, any award might be reduced.
It’s very important to remember that even if you are an employee and the facts and circumstances of dismissal are such that you may have a claim for unfair dismissal, a claim must be made within three months of the date that your employment effectively terminates. That includes the date of termination.
So, if the date of termination is, say, 1st June, the date by which proceedings must begin (by filing a claim with the Employment Tribunal) is 1st September. Any later and the claim will be out of time. The circumstances in which time may be extended are very limited.
Early Conciliation, the mandatory procedure that must be followed before a claim can be started, will have the effect of extending time to a degree. You can find out more about Early Conciliation here.
There are other options other than bringing a claim in the employment tribunal or court, you could also consider trying to negotiate a settlement agreement with your employer. Our unfair dismissal solicitors have a wealth of experience in successfully negotiating settlement agreements. We will provide advice and support that is sensitive to your needs.