Unfair Dismissal Solicitors

Being dismissed can leave you in serious financial difficulties, as well being very upsetting. It can also leave you with problems finding a new employment due to possible difficulties with getting a reference. If you believe your former employer broke the law by dismissing you or in the way your dismissal was handled, taking legal action may be the only option to achieve a fair outcome.

IBB Solicitors’ Employment Law team can provide a clear, pragmatic assessment of your situation and advise you on whether you have grounds for claiming unfair dismissal. We can quickly assess the merits of your case and give you a realistic indication of whether you are likely to have a strong employment tribunal claim. Our team will guide you through the entire unfair dismissal claims process. We will discuss your options with you, including attempting to reach a settlement with your former employer where possible.

Potential outcomes include financial compensation, being reinstated in the same role by your former employer or being reengaged in a different role by your former employer, all of which can be critical to allowing you to get your career and life back on track.

Our Employment Law team includes some of the region’s top ranked employment lawyers with experience representing employees of all levels for many years in claims for unfair dismissal. No matter your situation, if you believe you have been dismissed unfairly, we can help you fight for your employment rights and get a fair outcome.

We always tailor our approach to your situation, helping you to get a fair outcome for your claim as quickly and easily as we can. Wherever possible we will seek to resolve your claim without the need for an employment tribunal, saving you time, money and stress.

We are highly experienced with unfair dismissal claims for employees of all levels, so can provide the clear, effective legal guidance and empathetic personal support you need, no matter what approach we need to take. For advice on unfair dismissal, please contact our employment solicitors today on 03456 381381 or email employmentlaw4you@ibblaw.co.uk.

What is the legal test for unfair dismissal?

An employer cannot simply dismiss you just because it feels like it.  There must be a genuine reason.

Under section 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, there are 5 potentially fair reasons for dismissal, which are:

  • conduct
  • capability (e.g. skill or health) or qualifications (e.g. technical or professional)
  • redundancy
  • that an employee could not continue to work in the position which s/he held without contravention (either on his/her part or on that of the employer) of a duty or restriction imposed by or under an enactment
  • some other substantial reason of a kind such as to justify the dismissal of an employee holding the position which the employee held.

In deciding whether the dismissal was fair or unfair (having regard to the reason shown by the employer) an employment tribunal will consider:

  • whether an employer acted reasonably or unreasonably having regard to the size and administrative resources of the employer and
  • equity and the substantial merits of the case.

The legal test is whether the employer has acted within a band or range of reasonable responses. That range may include the employer who is quite lenient but also the employer who takes a harsh view on the same facts.

The employer has the burden of proving the dismissal was fair.

In short, challenging an employer’s decision to dismiss, except where objectively, no reasonable employer would have dismissed, is difficult. However, there is a second aspect to fair dismissals, which often helps employees more. The employer must also have acted in a procedurally fair way. If the employer fails in this regard, the employee may succeed with an unfair dismissal claim, even if the dismissal may have been otherwise fair.

Can a dismissal for a potentially fair reason still be unfair if the correct procedure has not been followed?

One of the first things we look at and advise on is whether the employer has overlooked or dealt wrongly with procedure before dismissing you. It often means that we can offer an opinion on prospects of a successful unfair dismissal claim at an early stage. Where employers are ignorant of fair process or have ignored it, we can assist clients with preparing an appeal and negotiating the terms of a settlement agreement (see below).

It is important to remember that dismissals occur for many reasons – possibly capability, which can include work performance issues or long-term sickness absence, conduct, such as fighting at work, breaching company rules, theft but it also includes redundancy. When it comes to redundancy, many employers, however well-intentioned, make errors in the consultation and/or in the selection process. Claims for redundancy based unfair dismissal are just as legitimate as for any other reason for dismissal.

Settlement agreements

Settlement agreements are a common way of resolving employment disputes, including unfair dismissal. They normally involve your former employer agreeing to make a one-off payment to you in exchange for your agreement not to pursue an employment claim and are a way of avoiding the stress, uncertainty and cost of pursuing a claim.

Your employer may pre-emptively offer a settlement agreement when dismissing possibly because they have not or do not want to follow the proper procedure. You must take independent legal advice before signing a settlement agreement for the agreement to be legally binding.

Our employment law team regularly help to negotiate and to review settlement agreements for a wide range of clients, so can ensure any settlement offered by your employer truly reflects your best interests.

Acas early conciliation

Early conciliation is a process offered by Acas as a way of resolving employment disputes without the need for an employment tribunal. It involves a conciliator from Acas acting as an intermediary between you and your former employer to try to reach a settlement for your dispute.

If you wish to bring an employment tribunal claim, you must start Acas early conciliation first as you will need an Acas early conciliation certificate reference number to complete a claim.

Our employment lawyers can advise you on the early conciliation process and represent you in discussions with an Acas conciliator. We can ensure your rights are protected at all times and that any settlement agreed through early conciliation is fair and reflects your best interests.

Employment tribunal claims

Where an unfair dismissal claim cannot be resolved, you may need to take make an employment tribunal claim.

While you can represent yourself at an employment tribunal, it is strongly recommended to have a solicitor act as your representative. They will ensure your claim is prepared correctly, making sure your case is presented effectively in what can be an intimidating environment.

It is not uncommon for employers to offer a last-minute settlement shortly before a final hearing. Having a specialist employment lawyer with you means they can review any settlement offered and advise you whether it is fair, making sure you do not lose out as a consequence of deciding to settle.

IBB’s employment lawyers have many years of experience representing clients in employment tribunals. We can ensure your case is prepared and presented in the right way to give you the best chance of achieving a positive outcome, as well as making sure the opportunity for an early settlement is not missed where appropriate.

Our expertise with unfair dismissal

Our employment lawyers have decades of experience advising employees on claims for unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal and wrongful dismissal. We regularly work with employees of all levels, from entry-level employees to company directors, so can provide tailored personal advice and support to match your circumstances.

IBB Solicitors is one of the top ranked legal firms for employment law in the South East. We are ranked Tier 1 by the highly respected Legal 500 client guide with Marc Jones from our employment team having been recognised by the Legal 500 as a leading individual in the field of employment law.

Marc Jones has been practising in the field of employment law for over 20 years, advising employees across a wide range of industries and business types from large multinationals to small and medium-sized enterprises, public sector bodies and charities. Marc is a qualified workplace mediator who is highly effective and taking a non-confrontational approach to resolving workplace disputes, including those related to unlawful dismissal.

Contact our employment law experts today

For help challenging an unfair, wrongful or constructive dismissal, please call our experienced employment solicitors today in confidence on 03456 381381, or email your details to employmentlaw4you@ibblaw.co.uk.

Common questions about unfair dismissal claims

What is the time limit for an unfair dismissal claim?

An unfair dismissal claim must be received by an employment tribunal within 3 months less a day of the effective date of termination i.e. the day your employment formally ends.

You must in almost all cases, complete Acas early conciliation. This will extend the time limit to bring an unfair dismissal claim by up to 1 month plus a further 14 days in certain circumstances.

How much compensation can you claim for unlawful dismissal?

For unfair dismissal, a tribunal can make a basic award of up to £15,750* and a compensatory award of up to 52 weeks’ gross salary (capped at £86,444*). *figures for 2019-2020

How is the basic award for unlawful dismissal claims calculated?

The amount of a basic award will depend on how long you worked for your former employer and your age during your employment.

The basic award will be calculated as follows:

  • 1.5 weeks’ pay for each year of employment where you were aged 41 or over
  • 1 weeks’ pay for each year of employment where you were aged 22-40
  • 0.5 weeks’ pay for each year of employment where you were under the age of 22.

Weekly pay will usually mean your normally weekly gross pay at the time of your dismissal, with a maximum limit of £525*. *figures for 2019-2020

How is the compensatory award for unlawful dismissal claims calculated?

Unfair dismissal claims are fundamentally loss based rather than compensatory. They are not a windfall for employees.

Aside from the loss of contractual entitlements to notice and the loss of statutory employment protection rights, it is up to you, regardless of how unfairly you been treated, to mitigate your loss by actively seeking new employment post-dismissal. Depending on the circumstances of the dismissal, this may not always be easy.

Complications in this area can occur where, because of being unfairly dismissed, you are unfit for work, perhaps due to stress or depression, or where prospects of being able to get work are impacted by being dismissed.


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