Making a claim for unfair dismissal is a statutory right open to employees who have grounds for believing that they have been dismissed from employment unreasonably. This is distinct from wrongful dismissal and there are various remedies available to the employee if unfair dismissal is proved.
You are able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal if you have been employed in continuous service for at least one year.
Considering confronting your employer and challenging your dismissal can be a daunting thought. As an employee you have certain rights, but it's quite normal to feel uncertain or reluctant to exercise these. This is what Oratto member solicitors are here for. We can put you in contact with a highly trained lawyer, skilled in unfair dismissal claims, who can act on your behalf.
What is fair dismissal?
An employee can be dismissed fairly if it can be proved that it was due to one or more of the following grounds:
- their conduct
- their capability and/or qualifications for the role
- as part of redundancy
- that some statutory duty or restriction prevents the individual continuing in their role
- another substantial reason - such as the employee was informed the post was temporary at the outset of employment
However, even if the reason for dismissal falls into one of the above categories, it must still be proved that the employer acted reasonably and fairly throughout the dismissal process. There are separate legal tests for this.
Oratto member solicitors are experienced in assessing situations and applying grounds for unfair dismissal.
Circumstances surrounding dismissal are often complicated, and sometimes highly-charged, so having a solicitor from Oratto on your side should dramatically ease the pressure. We can take the stress of challenging your employer away from you, and help you construct a strong and solid case.
When is dismissal automatically unfair?
Certain reasons for dismissal are deemed 'automatically unfair' and are concerning the following areas:
- working hours and/or pay. This would include things like annual leave, Working Time Regulations and the national minimum wage
- fixed term or part-time employment
- family reasons and all that this encompasses, e.g. maternity or paternity leave (birth AND adoption) and time off for dependants
- becoming a member of a trade union or participating in trade union activities. And, conversely, not joining a union
- starting proceedings against your employer
However this is not an exhaustive list and your Oratto member lawyer will be able to advise you more closely following a discussion of your circumstances.
There are two separate, applicable Acts which feature heavily in unfair dismissal claims. The Employment Rights Act 1996 states that employees are to be given a fair reason before their employment ends. The Equality Act 2010 sets out some grounds of discrimination, for example, pregnancy. If an employer is using any of these discriminatory grounds for dismissal then they will be found to be acting unfairly.
There are disparate methods by which a dismissal can be unfair. These include:
- at common law
- within a statute
- being constructive or actual
- it may involve discrimination as laid out under statute
An Oratto member lawyer who is familiar with employment law, and specifically unfair dismissal, will be able to guide you through applying your circumstances within the framework of the law. For example, once dismissal has been proved then you will need to look at the reason for it and whether it's automatically unfair or whether, potentially, there could be a fair reason. It's normal in these situations for the burden of proof to lie with the employer.
Broadly speaking, if, on the balance of probabilities, no other employer would have taken the same decision, then it will be found to be unreasonable. If the employee alleges another reason why they believe they were dismissed, then the burden of proof rests again with the employer to disprove this.
The dismissal procedure
ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) also has a code of practice which sets out how ‘reasonable procedure' is defined in these circumstances. Employers must follow this for the dismissal to be valid.
Though much of the emphasis in these proceedings for unfair dismissal is placed upon the employer to show that they have acted reasonably and fairly, it can still be a confusing process to go through.
Speak to an Oratto member employment lawyer to quickly determine whether your employer fulfilled his or her duties during the dismissal process.
What remedies are available for unfair dismissal?
There are three remedies open to those who have been unfairly dismissed. These are:
- being re-instated in your old job
- being re-employed but in a different role within the company
- receiving compensation. This can be a basic award or a compensatory award
Although any of these options are available, the latter is by far the most frequently accepted remedy. It can be difficult and awkward to go back into the same company with the same people after successfully challenging them at an Employment Tribunal and many former employees who challenge a dismissal successfully choose to move on elsewhere.
Whatever your own personal choices and preferences, Oratto can connect you instantly with a solicitor who can help you with your claim for unfair dismissal. Our member lawyers will be on hand to advise and guide you through your claim, from the very beginning to receiving the final tribunal judgement.
Call us today, have an online chat or fill in an Oratto Match form so that we can call you back at a time to suit you.
With an Oratto member lawyer by your side you will never be working alone