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Complaints of unfair dismissal are amongst the most common employment tribunal claims brought by employees. However, despite being a common claim, unfair dismissal can be a surprisingly complicated area of employment law, fraught with pitfalls for employers and employees alike. Unfair dismissal is governed by the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
In order for a dismissal to be unfair under the act certain criteria must be met. For example an employee must have two years qualifying service, the employee must have been dismissed and (a) either the employer is unable to show that the reason for the employee’s dismissal was not for one of the potential fair reasons specified in the act, or (b) if the reason for the dismissal was potentially fair, the decision to dismiss the employee was not fair and reasonable in all the circumstances (i.e. it did not fall within the ‘range of reasonable responses’).
To further complicate matters, there are two forms of unfair dismissal. A dismissal can be either procedurally or substantively unfair.
A procedurally unfair dismissal might occur, for example, where an employee has been dismissed without the proper process having been followed by the employer.
By contrast, a dismissal might be procedurally fair but substantively unfair if the proper process has been followed but the decision to dismiss was not fair and reasonable; for example, where an employee is dismissed for an act of gross misconduct, which it is clear that he or she did not commit.
Due to the complexity of unfair dismissal, professional employment law advice from experienced employment law solicitors is highly recommended. If you are considering bringing an employment tribunal claim and are seeking compensation for unfair dismissal, our dedicated team of professionals are here to help you achieve compensation. Our employment law solicitors are well versed in the intricacies of the law relating to unfair dismissal and are happy to offer a free initial consultation.