Unfair and Constructive Dismissal

If you feel the disciplinary procedure followed wasn't fair, the decision to discipline you was wrong or your dismissal without notice wasn't right, then getting expert legal advice quickly is essential.

Danielle Wright

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Unfair Dismissal

Employees who have been employed for 2 years or more can only be dismissed for one of five potentially fair reasons:

  1. Capability
  2. Misconduct
  3. Redundancy
  4. Illegality
  5. Some Other Substantial Reason

Even if the reason for your dismissal fell into one of the above five reasons, it may still be regarded as unfair if your employer failed to follow a fair process or if the dismissal was an unreasonable response.

There are also situations whereby a dismissal can be automatically unfair because the real reason for dismissal was in breach of your statutory rights. Examples include, being dismissed because of pregnancy or raising health and safety concerns or because you made a protected disclosure (‘whistleblowing’). In these situations, you do not need 2 years’ service in order to pursue an Employment Tribunal Claim.

Constructive Dismissal

This is where you resign in response to your employer’s actions (or lack of action in some cases). It is not enough to simply be unhappy at something your employer has done. It must be a fundamental breach of your contract of employment such as not paying your wages or acting in manner that destroys your trust and confidence in them as your employer.

It should be seen as a last resort and so you should ideally go through your employer’s internal grievance process in full, before resigning.

As with unfair dismissal claims, you need 2 year’s continuous service in order to pursue an Employment Tribunal Claim unless there are reasons that render the dismissal automatically unfair.

How long do I have to make a claim?

It is important that you know your limitation date. There are strict time limits for when pursuing claims in the Employment Tribunal. For unfair and constructive dismissal claims, you will have 3 months less one day from the effective date of termination (the date you are dismissed, resign or when your notice period ends if applicable) to register your claim with ACAS for Early Conciliation. If you are still not able to resolve matters then ACAS will issue a certificate and you will have to then submit a claim to the Employment Tribunal.

How much could I win?

If successful with a claim for unfair dismissal, you can receive a Basic Award which is dependent on your age, length of service and gross weekly pay. In addition, you could receive a Compensatory Award (loss of earnings) which is determined by the Tribunal but subject to a statutory cap which increases annually.

How much will it cost?

There are no application fees for filing a claim at the Employment Tribunal. In terms of our fees, we offer a range of different funding options, which can include no-win, no-fee. Please see our page on the different funding options for more information.

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