What is wrongful dismissal?
If you’ve been let go from work, and your dismissal is in breach of your employment contract, this would be classed as wrongful dismissal.
If you think this may have happened to you, you could be eligible to bring a wrongful dismissal claim against your employer. Find out more about wrongful dismissal claims below and get in touch with us on 0808 164 0808. You can also request a call back, if you wish.
What are grounds for wrongful dismissal?
Wrongful dismissal only concerns your employment contract and whether your employer has dismissed you in breach of it. There is no consideration on whether the dismissal was “fair” (See unfair dismissal for this). The focus is purely on whether your employer breached a term of contract of employment. Most commonly, it may refer to whether you’ve been dismissed without notice, or with less than the stated (within your contract or statutory) minimum notice period.
The statutory minimum notice period cannot be less than one week for each year of your service with your employer, and is capped at 12 weeks. For your employer to dismiss you without breaching the terms of your contract, they need to give you advance notice of your termination, and for it to comply with statutory terms or the terms within your contract.
In some instances, an employer may pay a dismissed employee in lieu of notice, rather than permitting them to work their notice period. Paying in lieu of notice is more than often accepted as damages for these claims. This payment would not be classed as a breach of contract and would not likely hold up as grounds for a wrongful dismissal claim.
However, if the employee’s contract did not include the right to terminate by issuing a payment in lieu of notice, they could still bring a claim.
What’s the difference between wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal?
Wrongful dismissal only concerns dismissal in breach of employment contracts. Unfair dismissal is when an employee may have been dismissed without fair reasoning or proof.
Can you claim for wrongful dismissal during your probationary period?
All employees are entitled to bring a wrongful dismissal claim, regardless of their length of service with the employer.
Your employer reserves the right to let you go during your probationary period, as long as they give you a reason (such as poor performance, gross misconduct, poor attendance). If you are let go during this period it’s imperative that you understand the parameters of your probationary period as outlined in your employment contract. If a breach has occurred, you may be eligible to bring a wrongful dismissal claim.
We understand you may feel uncertain in this instance. Please talk to our employment law experts if you feel you have been wrongfully dismissed during your probationary period. Call 0808 164 0808.
I’ve been wrongfully dismissed from work. What should I do?
Being dismissed from your job can be incredibly stressful, and we want to make sure anyone who is wrongfully dismissed receives fair, expert legal advice. If you believe you have been wrongfully dismissed, you have some options:
- Bring your claim in the County or High Court
- Bring your claim in an Employment Tribunal
If you choose to bring your wrongful dismissal claim in a County or High Court, you have six years from the date of termination to do so. If you wish to take the Employment Tribunal route, you must first notify the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). ACAS will then contact your employer and try to achieve “early conciliation”, which can take up to six weeks.
Note: If you proceed with ACAS, you must do so within three months less one day from the date of termination. We advise that you notify ACAS as soon as possible, given that the conciliation process can be timely.
Ultimately, we suggest seeking legal advice in the early days of your decision to bring a wrongful dismissal claim. The process can be complicated and we have a team of experts who have experience handling all types of employment claims.
DISCLAIMER: In general you have three months less one day from the breach to take action, meaning you should act fast.
We recommend you speak to one of our lawyers in the first instance. As part of the process, you’ll need to get in touch with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), who will aim to achieve early conciliation with your employer. However, our lawyers can assist in this process where appropriate and we have formally been instructed.
Please be aware that the ACAS process can take up to around six weeks to complete, which will be taken from the three months you have to begin with. It’s important to act quickly in order to bring a tribunal claim. If the conciliation procedure is unsuccessful, we may be able to support you with the tribunal. If you feel you have a potential employment claim please act quickly and contact us today.