Unfair dismissal FAQs
What is unfair dismissal?
Unfair dismissal is when your employment contracted is terminated by your employer without following a fair procedure or where the reasons for the dismissal are unfair.
For a dismissal to be fair, the employer must demonstrate that the dismissal was for one of the following five reasons:
- Where continued employed would break the law
- Some other substantial reason
Is there a minimum length of employment required to be able to claim unfair dismissal?
Yes. You are required to have been in continuous employment with the employer for a minimum of two years before a valid claim for unfair dismissal can be made.
Without two years length of service with your employer, it is unlikely that you will be able to raise a successful claim for unfair dismissal, but you may still be able to raise a claim under a different claim i.e., where discrimination has occurred or where you have been automatically unfairly dismissed.
What steps should I take if I feel that my dismissal is unfair?
Upon dismissal you should be provided with an opportunity to appeal the dismissal. You should send a detailed appeal letter to the employer explaining why you feel the dismissal was unfair. The employer should arrange for your appeal to be investigated and an appeal hearing should take place.
If the matter is not resolved following the appeal process, the next step is to enter into Early Conciliation with ACAS. ACAS are conciliators who will relay messages between the employee and employer to see if a resolution can be found.
If the matter is not resolved via ACAS you will be issued with a certificate enabling you to raise a claim with the Employment Tribunal.
Is there a time limit to bring a claim for unfair dismissal?
Yes. There is a strict time limit to enter into Early Conciliation with ACAS of three months less one day from the date of the dismissal. Once ACAS have issued the certificate there is in most circumstances a time limit of one month from the date the certificate was issued to submit your claim to the employment tribunal. It is your responsibility to ensure these deadlines are met, if not, it can put your case in jeopardy.
How do I pursue a claim through the employment tribunal?
Once you are in receipt of the early conciliation certificate you must complete an online form, called an ET1, which you will submit to the employment tribunal with a detailed timeline of your case and explaining why you feel the dismissal was unfair. The employment tribunal will write to the employer to seek their response to your allegations and a date will be set for an employment tribunal hearing. During the employment tribunal process the employee will be titled the Claimant and the employer the Respondent.
What outcome can I expect to achieve?
Successful claims can result in a settlement figure being agreed between the parties using the ACAS Early Conciliation process, usually by way of settlement agreement or a COT3, of which both parties agree terms and sign an agreement. Or the Tribunal may award an amount if they find in favour of the Claimant. In some instances, the Claimant can be re-instated or re-engaged into their position with the employer.
At what stage should I consider speaking to a solicitor during the process?
Our employment law specialists are on hand to assist at every step of the way. Whether you require advice on the dismissal to determine if it was unfair or assistance writing a structured appeal letter. It is beneficial to have the assistance of an employment law specialist during the Early Conciliation process to ensure that you make the most of the conciliation process, a large number of cases are resolved during the ACAS process, and it can be helpful to know the legal value of your claim before starting the negotiations. If you are at the point of submitting a claim to the employment tribunal an employment law specialist can ensure that your claim is structured correctly, and the correct legal headings are included within your claim.
Recently settled unfair dismissal claims
We recently assisted a client with raising a claim for unfair dismissal, after his employer had dismissed him without following any procedure or conducting a disciplinary investigation into the allegations made against him. We subsequently prepared our client for his Final Hearing at the employment tribunal and he was successful in obtaining compensation in excess of £20,000 for the loss that he had suffered as a result of his dismissal. As part of his award, our client was awarded a 25% uplift to his compensation, as the judge decided that his employer had failed to follow ACAS Code of Practice when dismissing him. Our assistance with this client’s case was funded by his legal expenses insurance, which he had access to via his home insurance policy.
We acted on behalf of a client in bringing a claim for unfair dismissal, as his employer had made him redundant and had failed to apply a fair scoring criteria in advance of their decision. Our client’s employer had also failed to consider any suitable alternatives to making him redundant. We were successful on our client’s behalf at the employment tribunal final hearing, and he was awarded over £30,000 in compensation for his losses. We assisted this client on a no win no fee basis which meant that he was not required to pay any fees in advance of our assistance.
What should I do next?
If you feel that you have a claim for unfair dismissal against your employer speak to our specialists who will be happy to discuss your case with you. We appreciate that this is often a difficult time and we offer a range of funding options to assist you. In some circumstances we may be able to offer a ‘no win no fee arrangement’.
Please complete the enquiry form or call us on 01616 966 229 and we will be happy to discuss your options and guide you through the process of making an unfair dismissal claim.