Can I Claim Compensation for Unfair Dismissal?

24 January 2017

If you’ve been unfairly dismissed from a job in England or Wales, you could claim compensation if you take your case to an Employment Tribunal, but there are some important things to consider.

You need to understand whether your dismissal was unfair. There are some reasons for dismissal that are fair and some that are unfair.

If your employer has dismissed you because of performance or your conduct at work or because you were made redundant, these are all potentially valid reasons for dismissal.

Reasons for Unfair Dismissal

Some reasons for dismissal will automatically be unfair. These are:

  • Being pregnant or any reasons related to maternity
  • Taking parental leave, paternity leave, adoption leave or any time off for dependants
  • Being an employee representative
  • Being a Trade Union Representative
  • Being part of a trade union
  • Not being part of a trade union
  • Discrimination of any kind such as:
    > Sex and sexual orientation
    > Age
    > Religion
    > Race
    > Gender reassignment
    > Pregnancy
  • Your pay or working hours (such as National Minimum Wage, your holiday entitlement or the Working Time Regulations)
  • Whistleblowing

If you’ve been dismissed for any of the reasons above, you could have a claim against your employer for unfair dismissal.

Sometimes an employer may say that you’ve been dismissed for a valid reason, but you think you’ve been dismissed for another reason. If this is the case, you could have a claim.

Once you’ve established if you have a potential claim, there are a number of steps you’ll need to complete.

How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim?

You should be aware that there is a short time period to make a claim for unfair dismissal against your employer. You only have three months less one day from the date your employer dismisses you to bring a claim so it’s really important that you get advice from an experienced Employment Solicitor as soon as possible.

ACAS Early Conciliation

To make an claim for unfair dismissal, you’ll have to complete the early conciliation process first. This process will try to resolve the issues you have with your employer without the need to go to the Employment Tribunal.

This process takes place during the three month period you have to make an unfair dismissal claim, but the clock is stopped whilst this process is taking place. There is usually a one month period set aside for early conciliation, but this can be extended or shortened.

Early conciliation will either resolve your dispute with your employer or you will take your claim to an employment tribunal. If you do have to take your claim to an employment tribunal, you’ll need an ACAS certificate from the early conciliation process to confirm you’ve completed the process.

Employment Tribunal Fees

To take your claim to an employment tribunal, you’ll have to pay fees depending on the type of claim you are bringing. Claims have been split into Type A and Type B Claims.

Type A claims are money claims such as notice payments, outstanding holiday pay or unpaid wages for example. Type B claims are for more complicated claims such as unfair dismissal or discrimination claims.

The fee structure for an unfair dismissal claim is £250 to issue the claim at the Employment Tribunal and then a £950 fee for the hearing. This is a total of £1,200, which is a lot of money but if you win your claim the judge can award you compensation for this or alternatively if you settle your claim, your settlement could include recovering these fees back as long as your Solicitor agrees this in the Settlement Agreement.

If your employer loses at tribunal, they could face financial penalties. They will have to pay compensation to you or potentially even give you your job back. They may also have to pay a fine to the Secretary of State of up to 50% of the compensation awarded to you. This will be a minimum of £100 and a maximum of £5,000.

For more information see the Employment Tribunal Process explained.

The most important thing to do is to get legal advice from an Employment Law Solicitor as soon as possible as you have a limited amount of time to make an unfair dismissal claim.

More articles