Unfair Dismissals: Employment Law Advice from Jefferies

Posted on August 27, 2019
Unfair Dismissals Solicitors in Essex

Are you looking for Employment Law advice about ‘unfair dismissals’?

While employers can have legitimate reasons for letting employees go, it should always be done in a way that is fair and lawful. In some instances, people can be sacked from their jobs for little reason or the process can be poorly handled by the employer. In those cases, Jefferies are here to offer you advice and guidance.

Introducing unfair dismissals

Dismissal is the legal term for being ‘fired’ from a job. Employers are allowed to dismiss employees so long as they do this for a permitted reason, and of course, without breaking any laws!

In any workplace, there should always be some form of procedure that is followed to ensure all employees are subject to a fair dismissal protocol. Typical procedures include verbal warnings, or a documented review of your work performance. When signing up to the job, there should be a contract in place that outlines the process for this,  and an Employee Handbook. If you think you have an unfair dismissal claim, be sure to check this and keep it on record.

When an employee is sacked without a legitimate reason, or in a way that breaks the employment contract, a  claim may be made. This is  known as ‘unfair dismissal’.

Building a claim for unfair dismissals

There are many reasons that can  form grounds for an ‘unfair dismissal’ claim. Often, these are based on being fired for no good reason, or for being let go without any warning or without following  proper protocol. However, there are some reasons that will be seen as ‘automatically unfair’ by the law.  In extreme circumstances, employees may have a case for being let go on the grounds of discrimination.

All employees will have a degree of protection  against unfair dismissals. Under the Equal Opportunities Act 2010, employers must follow certain  procedures to guarantee that all employees are treated respectfully and fairly.  No one person  should be treated unfairly because of their age, gender, sexuality, disability or any other protected characteristic, such as pregnancy or marital status.

Claiming for an ‘automatically unfair’ dismissal

In certain circumstances, there are dismissal reasons that will be simply classed as ‘automatically unfair’ in the eyes of the law. Some examples include:

  • You asked for your minimum rights to be met – such as receiving minimum wage, or having mandated time off
  • You reported your employer for any wrongdoing or acted as a ‘whistle-blower’ within your rights
  • You took action on a health and safety issue – such as reporting an accident or identifying a risk
  • You took part in industrial action  – such as going on an official strike or acting as an official employee representative – or joined a trade union
  • You are pregnant or off work on maternity leave, or shared paternity leave
  • In relation to certain business transactions – for instance not taking part in business activity which is illegal

It is important to note that you will need to provide evidence that your dismissal was, in fact, classed as automatically unfair. It may help if you get a Solicitor by your side to help you put together your claim and build up any relevant evidence. If you believe your claim is indeed  unfair, get in touch with our Employment Law team to see how we can help.

How to make an unfair dismissal claim

To make a claim for unfair dismissal, there is certain criteria you have to meet by law, including the time you have to make the claim and your employment status. However, if it is a claim based on the grounds of discrimination, these are largely exempt from any of these restraints. This is because discrimination is illegal in all circumstances, irrelative of being in the workplace or not.

If your unfair dismissal claim is based around any other reasoning than discrimination, you will be likely to make a claim if:

  • You start your claim within 3 months less a day from the day you were dismissed from your job
  • You have been an employee of the company for 2 years or more
  • You were a permanent worker for the company – not an agency or temporary work
  • You have reasoning behind your dismissal as being unfair

If you do not meet the above conditions, it does not necessarily mean your claim is void. Every situation is different and there may be a case irrespective of the above criteria. If you are unsure whether or not you meet the requirements to make a claim, get in contact with our Employment Law department for more advice.

What is classed as a ‘fair’ dismissal?

Employers are allowed to dismiss employees for a variety of reasons, including redundancies within the company or lack of performance in the job. However, there should always be protocol in place to ensure employees are dismissed fairly and ethically.

There are five main reasons that are potentially fair in dismissal scenarios, including:

  • Being incapable of doing your job – for instance if your performance is poor, or you’ve been off ‘sick’ too much
  • Redundancy – your skills were no longer needed in the company, or they can’t afford to keep you on
  • Misconduct of behaviour – such as behaving badly or being unprofessional repeatedly, any gross misconduct, or violence or criminal activity
  • A legitimate legal reason – for example if you’ve lost your right to work in the UK, or you failed a CRB / DBS check
  • Some other substantial reason – which means your employer can still provide evidence they had a good reason for your dismissal

If you unsure whether or not your dismissal was ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’, our Employment Law experts can listen to your side of the situation and see if there’s any scope to bring forward a case. To book your consultation with us, get in touch with us today.

Constructive dismissal claims

In other circumstances, an employee may otherwise have a case for ‘constructive dismissal’. This is when an employer has seriously breached the employment contract, or when the employee is under working conditions which are unbearable, subsequently forcing them to leave the job. To learn more about this type of dismissal claim, send your enquiry to our team.

Next steps to making an unfair dismissal claim

If you believe there are grounds for you to make a dismissal claim, you should consider getting the support of an experienced Solicitor to guide you with the next steps, and to help you construct your argument clearly.  If it is agreed there is enough basis to make a claim, you may be able to bring the case forward to a Tribunal.

However, in some circumstances, these cases can be settled before making it to the Tribunal  by form of a settlement agreement. This is when  the employer and the person making the claim, come to a fair compromise for compensation. Our experts in Employment Law are highly trained and skilled in this field, often coming out with a positive outcome for all.

In times that a settlement agreement cannot be reached, or if the individual would still like to take the case to court, Jefferies are still here to act as a legal representative in your corner. This will give you the best fighting chance for your claim making it to the Tribunal itself, and for getting the best possible result.

Your unfair dismissal Solicitors in Essex

Do you think you’ve been dismissed unfairly by an employer? For a confidential discussion about any of these issues, or any other Employment Law matter, please contact our dedicated team on employment@jefferieslaw.co.uk or call us on 01702 332 311

Speak to an expert today

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