HOW TO MAKE A CLAIM FOR WRONGFUL DISMISSAL
What is wrongful dismissal?
Wrongful dismissal is a situation in which your employer dismissed you without observing the terms stated in your contract. It is closely related to, but different from, unfair dismissal.
Difference between unfair and wrongful dismissal
Even though they seem like the same thing, there are distinctions between unfair and wrongful dismissal. It is important to understand the distinction between the two if you're going to file for either.
Unfair dismissal occurs when your employer dismisses you without a valid reason(s).
Valid reasons for dismissal include:
- Inability to deliver either because of a lack of skills or lack of certification
- Redundant job description (When the job you do is no longer needed by the organization)
Any termination outside these may qualify as a unfair dismissal.
On the other hand, wrongful dismissal occurs when there's breach of contract. Usually, wrongful dismissal claims can be laid when one or more of the following situations occur:
1. Dismissal without prior notice
2. Dismissal without observing the notice period stated in the contract
3. Termination of a time-based contract before it is due to expire
4. Dismissal without notice period wages
Dismissal under any of these conditions qualifies as wrongful dismissal.
The notice period extends from the time you are informed of your dismissal to the end of your last working day. The notice period you are entitled to depends on the law and your duration of work with your employer. By default, the notice period guidelines in the UK are as follows::
1. One week's notice for employments between one month and one year
2. One week's notice for each year if employed between two and twelve years
3. Twelve weeks' notice for employments of more than twelve years.
The maximum legal notice period is twelve years.
Making claims for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims
The grounds on which you were dismissed will determine which claim you can make. Sometimes, you can qualify for both. For example, if you were dismissed because of an error you did not commit, and were not given a notice.
At the same time, you might also decide to make a claim for one. This could depend on how much you stand to gain from either. You might opt for wrongful dismissal if your contract has a long notice period, which translates to more in damages and compensation.
Factors influencing damages
There are some factors that influence the amount you get in damages when claiming either wrongful dismissal.
1. The damages you get from wrongful dismissal will cancel out some damages if you decide to claim both unfair and wrongful dismissal.
2. Your new salary will be taken into account if you got a new job during the notice period.
Preparing for a wrongful dismissal claim
1. Ensure that you qualify for a wrongful dismissal claim. If your employer dismisses you based on valid grounds like misconduct, you cannot claim wrongful dismissal.
2. Submit the claim to the employment tribunal within 3 months minus a day of your dismissal. You should also make an early conciliation notification with ACAS (an independent organization that sorts out employment related disputes). They will offer to solve the problem without taking it to the tribunal.
3. Get competent legal representation, preferably one with a good track record.
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What if I lose?
If your dismissal was in breach of your contract, you should be able to win. Additionally, you should also consider getting representation that operates on a no win, no fee basis. This will help improve your chances of getting your claims. There is also no additional cost to you if you do not win.
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