Unfair dismissal claims

An individual will generally need to be continuously employed for 2 years to be able to make an unfair dismissal claim.


To defend a claim for unfair dismissal, an employer will need to show that an employee was dismissed for one of the potentially fair reasons:


conduct; capability; redundancy; some other substantial reason –  and in dismissing the employee for that reason, that the employer acted reasonably in all the circumstances of the case.


The procedure adopted before dismissal is very important. For example, if the employee is accused of misconduct, he should be called to a disciplinary hearing and be given the right to put his side of the story before being dismissed. An instant dismissal with no procedural safeguards, will usually lead to an unfair dismissal claim. Equally, in a redundancy situation, an employer will be expected to consult with the employees affected and carry out an objectively fair selection process. Failure to do so could lead to an unfair dismissal claim.


If an unfair dismissal claim is successful the employee will be given a basic award, which is calculated like a statutory redundancy payment, and, depending on the financial losses suffered, the employee could be awarded up to £80,541, or a years pay, which ever is lower. The employee can also ask for reinstatement.


There are certain limited exceptions when an employee can claim unfair dismissal right from the start of their employment, for example, if the dismissal relates to pregnancy or is because the employee “blew the whistle”.

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