Unfair Dismissal

Advice for Employees on Unfair Dismissal Claims

Every employee with 2 years’ or more continuous service has the right not to be unfairly dismissed by their employer. In certain cases (e.g. whistleblowing cases and pregnancy-related dismissals), there is no need for the employee to have been continuously employed for 2 years or more as the protection in those cases starts from day 1 of the employee’s employment.

In order to be potentially fair, a dismissal must be on one of the following grounds:

  • Conduct (e.g. an employee has stolen from the employer).
  • Capability (i.e. where an employee is incapable of performing their duties properly).
  • Redundancy.
  • Illegality (e.g. where it would be illegal for a minor to serve alcohol in a bar).
  • Some other substantive reason (the catch-all 5th category but the reason for the dismissal must still be reasonable – e.g. re-organisation).

If the employer can establish that there is a potentially fair reason for the dismissal, the employer must still be able to demonstrate that it has acted reasonably in dismissing the employee. This means that the employer must follow a fair procedure with regard not only to the employee’s contract of employment/disciplinary procedure, but also ensuring compliance with the ACAS Code of Practice. Employers must also ensure that they act consistently and that any sanction issued is in line with previous similar cases the employer has dealt with.

If either the reason for the dismissal is unfair or the employer has acted unreasonably in dismissing the employee the dismissal will be unfair. If that is the case, then the employee will be entitled to a “Basic Award” which is calculated in the same way as a redundancy payment. The employee may also be entitled to a “Compensatory Award” to reflect the employee’s losses such as future loss of earnings. Whilst usually, the “Compensatory Award” is limited to a years’ gross salary, in certain cases (such as dismissals motivated by whistleblowing issues raised by the employee), the damages for compensation can be unlimited.

For more information about our services and how we can help with your unfair dismissal claim, please complete our online enquiry form.


Our experience with dealing with unfair dismissal claims

Instructing a specialist employment solicitor is essential and at SDM Legal, we will explain your rights clearly and will also help you to obtain compensation if your legal rights have been infringed.

The employment team at SDM Legal has over 25 years’ experience in dealing with unfair dismissal claims, particularly unfair dismissal claims with a complex factual and legal matrix and a number of the unfair dismissal claims our department members have acted on have been widely reported in the national press.

Key Contact

Hannah Durham

Head of Claimant Litigation

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