Truth Legal solicitors specialises in unfair dismissal claims, often representing clients on No Win, No Fee agreements. Sometimes, our clients can use their Legal Expenses Insurance on their home insurance to fund their claims.
Our employment law team is run by experienced employment law solicitor, Navya Shekhar, supported by Andrew Gray and Georgina Parkin.
Who can make an Unfair Dismissal Claim?
The ability to bring an unfair dismissal employment tribunal claim is only available for employees who have been dismissed (constructive dismissal will count, too). In addition, normally an employee will need to have two years’ service in order to make an unfair dismissal claim.
On top of this, the employee’s work must have been performed in Great Britain or, at the very least, must have had a sufficient connection with Great Britain.
What is a fair dismissal?
Under employment law, a dismissal of an employee will be fair if:
1. The employer can show that the reason (or the main reason) for the dismissal was potentially fair. There are five potentially fair reasons for a dismissal.
2. If an employment tribunal finds that after taking all the circumstances into consideration – including the employer’s size and resources – the employer acted reasonably in treating the above reason as a sufficient reason for the dismissal. An employment tribunal will need to determine whether the dismissal is both “procedurally” and “substantively” fair.
Written reasons for the dismissal
Employees with two years’ service who are dismissed are entitled – upon their request – to a written statement which sets out the reasons for the dismissal. An employer ought to provide the written reasons within 14 days of the dismissal.
Importantly, employees who are on statutory maternity, or adoption leave, when dismissed, must be given a written statement of reasons, irrespective of how long they have been employed.
How to bring a claim for unfair dismissal
Potential claimants, who want to bring an unfair dismissal claim, must first contact ACAS in order to commence Early Conciliation (link). If the case is not settled during ACAS Early Conciliation, then ACAS will provide an Early Conciliation Certificate. With this Early Conciliation Certificate in hand, an employee wanting to make an unfair dismissal claim, can lodge an ET1 (the claim), bearing in mind the very tight time limits. Prior to this step, however, a potential Claimant should seek legal advice, particularly to see if a No Win, No Fee agreement can be offered by a specialist employment solicitor.
At an employment tribunal trial (most claims settle or are withdrawn before an unfair dismissal claim goes to a trial), it is the employee’s obligation to prove the fact of the dismissal. Then, if the employee can establish the dismissal, the burden of proof transfers to the employer to prove that the reason for the dismissal falls within one of the five potentially fair reasons (see link to blog post).
What happens If the employee wins an unfair dismissal claim?
If the employment tribunal finds that an employee was unfairly dismissed it will decide what to award. An employment tribunal will consider reinstatement (getting the same job back), re-engagement (getting a different job at the same employer) and compensation.
Normally, an employee who has been unfairly dismissed will not want to work for the employer again!
Unfair dismissal compensation is split into the basic award and the compensatory award.
What is basic award compensation?
The basic award is calculated in the same way as a statutory redundancy pay (see this link https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-redundancy-pay). The formula takes into account the Claimant’s age, length of service and the amount of a week’s pay (which is capped). An employment tribunal also has the right reduce the basic award if the employee’s conduct prior to dismissal was poor.
What is the compensatory award?
The compensatory award for unfair dismissal is such an amount as the employment tribunal thinks is “just and equitable” based on the loss to the unfairly dismissed employee. Such compensation can include salary, pension and benefits, until the unfairly dismissed employee finds new employment (depending on rate of pay), or for such a period as the employment tribunal thinks is fair depending on all the circumstances of the case. It is essential that a dismissed employee uses his or her best endeavours to find suitable employment and to keep their evidence for their efforts.
An employment tribunal has the power to reduce the compensatory award if, say, the unfairly dismissed employee would have been dismissed had a fair procedure been followed; or that the unfairly dismissed employee would have been fired in due course; or that the unfairly dismissed employee’s contributed to their own dismissal.
If an employer failed to follow the ACAS Code, then the compensation can be increased by up to 25%. Also, the compensation cannot be more than a year’s full pay, or capped at around £78,000.
Unfair dismissal claims are complex and it is essential that you have an excellent and determined legal representation by a solicitor (not a paralegal). At Truth Legal, because we are driven by a passion to provide access to justice, we offer all potential clients a free, confidential and no-obligation consultation with a specialist solicitor. For appropriate cases, we offer No Win, No Fee agreements. If we cannot offer a No Win, No Fee agreements, our charges are affordable and fair.