Unfair dismissal claims and compensation solicitors

If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed by your employer, our employment law solicitors can help you.

Need help with an unfair dismissal claim?

What is unfair dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is when an employer ends an employee’s employment unfairly, unreasonably or without a proper procedure. Employees in England and Wales are legally protected against unfair dismissal and can bring a claim in the employment tribunal if they believe they’ve been unfairly dismissed, providing they have 2 years’ continuous service.

Our employment solicitor fees for unfair dismissal start from £450 (including VAT) for an investigation report. For this we’ll review your documents, provide an analysis of your case and explain the likelihood of your case succeeding. We’ll also give you practical options on the next steps.

What’s the difference between constructive dismissal and unfair dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is when an employer ends an employee’s contract without good reason or without following the correct procedure. Constructive dismissal is when the employee ends the employment themselves because of the way their employer has acted.

Find out more about constructive dismissal claims

How to make an unfair dismissal claim

If you believe you have a claim for unfair dismissal, you must act quickly because there’s a strict time limit. You only have 3 months less one day to begin early conciliation with ACAS from the date of dismissal. You’ll need to do this before you can lodge a tribunal claim for unfair dismissal. You should also appeal your dismissal immediately, directly with your employer.

If you want to make an unfair dismissal claim, it’s important to get independent legal advice from an employment solicitor as early as possible.

Who can claim compensation for unfair dismissal?

Employees who have been employed for 2 or more continuous years are protected from being unfairly dismissed. There’s no minimum or maximum requirement for the number of hours you’re contracted to work in order to claim for unfair dismissal.

Costs for making an unfair dismissal compensation claim

Our employment law solicitors have many years of expertise dealing with complex unfair dismissal cases. We have a positive track record in resolving employer disputes on the best possible terms for our customers.

We can also consider what funding arrangements might be available to you (such as whether you have home legal expenses insurance). Alternatively, we can agree our fixed employment solicitor fees with you upfront before any work starts.

If you prefer, we can provide fixed fee quotes for each stage of the tribunal process which includes lodging your tribunal claim, reviewing the employer’s response (defence), disclosure of documents, drafting witness statements and preparing for the hearing itself. Once we have provided you with a written quote for the agreed work, that price will not change unless the original information we are given is shown to be incorrect or circumstances change.

Funding your employment law claim

We provide fixed fee employment law services. We can provide a 1 hour consultation with an employment solicitor for £240 (including VAT) or a comprehensive claims report for £450 (including VAT).

We also offer hourly rate services for more complex employment claims and funding through legal expenses insurance (LEI).

Find out more about our fees and how to fund your employment law claim.

Your help made a big difference to my ability to stand my ground with my employers. Thank you. (Miss A., Hertfordshire)

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When is a dismissal unfair?

For an employer to dismiss an employee fairly, it must be for a fair reason and the employer must have acted fairly and reasonably.

There are 5 fair reasons why an employer can dismiss an employee:

1. Performance or capability

The employer should provide evidence of poor performance and discuss their concerns, giving the employee an opportunity to respond. The employer must provide realistic targets, support the employee to improve and warn them that dismissal is a possible outcome.

If the dismissal is because of long term sickness, the employer must consult with the employee, seek medical advice and consider alternative employment. If the employee has a disability, reasonable adjustments should also be considered.

2. Misconduct

The employer is expected to carry out a proper investigation, give the employee an opportunity to explain what happened and establish if there’s genuine belief in the employee’s guilt. They should also consider the range of sanctions available, let the employee be accompanied to any meetings and give them an opportunity to appeal.

3. Redundancy

The employer is expected to carry out a fair selection process, based on set criteria. They should also warn the employee they’re at risk of redundancy, consult with them and consider alternatives to dismissal.

Employers will often offer an employee a settlement agreement after the redundancy process.

4. Breach of a statutory restriction

This is when it becomes illegal for an employee to continue doing their job, such as a lorry driver losing their driving license. Before dismissal, the employer should consider if any alternative roles are available.

5. Some other substantial reason

This is the potential ‘catch all’ if none of the other reasons apply and could include a personality clash, pressure from a third party or a conflict of interest. The employer should carefully consider any evidence, consult with the employee (letting them be accompanied to meetings), consider other options to dismissal and give them the opportunity to appeal.

If the employer didn’t follow the correct disciplinary or dismissal procedure then an employee may be able to claim unfair dismissal even if the reason for the dismissal is fair. This is because the dismissal hasn’t been carried out in a reasonable way.

Automatic unfair dismissal

Some reasons for dismissal will automatically be unfair and you don’t need 2 years’ continuous service to claim unfair dismissal.

These include:

  • health and safety issues
  • pregnancy or maternity
  • parental leave (including paternity leave and adoption leave)
  • acting as an employee representative or trade union representative
  • choosing to join or not join a trade union
  • being employed part-time
  • whistleblowing
  • taking part in official industrial action (this is automatically unfair if dismissed within 12 weeks of the start of the industrial action)
  • refusing to forgo rights under the Working Time Regulations or National Minimum Wage

If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, you may have a claim. Please contact us for advice and do not delay as you have only 3 months, less one day from the date of the dismissal to act.

At Co-op Legal Services our employment solicitors only represent employees. We do not advise or represent employers.

Criteria for making an unfair dismissal claim

To make a claim for unfair dismissal, you need to have at least 2 years' continuous service, unless you believe you have been automatically unfairly dismissed. You also need to start early conciliation within 3 months, less one day, of the dismissal. If you don't start early conciliation within the time limit, the tribunal is unlikely to have the power to hear your case and we'll be unable to help you.