Losing a job is a harrowing experience for anyone, and if you feel this was unfair, then it will probably sting even more. Unfair dismissal is a complex situation to deal with, but if you really have been dismissed unfairly then it is your right to seek compensation for the experience.
Can you claim unfair dismissal?
Before you start any proceedings, it is important to ask yourself a few key questions to see if you are likely to be eligible to claim unfair dismissal. These include:
- Are you eligible to claim? Some workers will never be able to claim unfair dismissal, such as freelancers, contractors or the self-employed. People in the police, military and those working outside of the UK will not be able to claim either. You will also have needed to work for your employer for at least a year if you started before April 2012, or two years if you started after.
- Have you been dismissed? There is a big difference between being dismissed and resigning, although if you have resigned because the employer made it difficult to do your job, then this can be viewed as constructive dismissal.
- Was it automatically unfair? Unfair dismissal can be a contentious area, although in some cases it is very clear cut. If you were dismissed because you were pregnant, because you acted on a health and safety issue, because you tried to enforce a right you have under law or because you blew the whistle on a matter of public concern, then you automatically claim unfair dismissal no matter how long you have worked for the employer.
- Was it otherwise unfair? There are a number of other reasons your dismissal may have been unfair that will need other worked out in a tribunal. These include being dismissed because you are too ill to do the job, because you lost your driving license, because you behaved badly or in situations where the employer did not follow the code of conduct.
What should you do next?
If you have worked through the questions and still think you have a case, it is a good idea to get advice from a specialist in the area of employment law to ensure you take the right course of action from here on in. Companies like Breens Solicitors offer employment law specialists who can help you put your case together and claim against your employer. Having their support at this early stage will ensure you stand the best chance of a win.
You should start the claim proceedings within three months of being dismissed otherwise you might not be able to claim at all. Your compensation award will usually be made up of a basic award, which is related to your salary and the amount of time you worked for the employer, and a compensatory award which is related to loss of earnings as a result of the dismissal.
You can find some useful resources on the topic of unfair dismissal at the resources below: