Claiming unfair dismissal

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If you think you have been unfairly dismissed you should seek advice as soon as possible. There are time limits for bringing unfair dismissal claims before the Employment Tribunal of three months from the effective date of termination.

In order to bring a claim for unfair dismissal, you need to have two year’s service with the employer unless one of the automatically unfair reasons for dismissal applies. The automatically unfair reasons are contained in s98B – 105 of the ERA 1996. The most common automatically unfair reasons are assertion of a statutory right, health and safety allegations made by the employee, working time cases, pregnancy or any other form of leave for family reasons.

If you qualify to bring a claim for unfair dismissal this is brought in the Employment Tribunal. In order to bring such a claim you must used a prescribed form called an ET1 form which is available online. You must also pay a fee to issue the claim and the level of the fee depends on the type of claim you are bringing. For unfair dismissal cases this is currently £250. If you cannot afford to pay the fee you must make an application for remission of fees instead. A claim will only be accepted once a fee has been paid or a remission application has been made.

Employment Tribunals can only award you compensation based on your financial losses for unfair dismissal. They are also able to make an order for reinstatement (your job back) and re-engagement (another role with the same employer on similar terms and conditions). If they award compensation then this is made of two elements. Firstly, the basic award which is calculated in the same way as a statutory redundancy payment. Secondly, the compensatory award which calculates your financial losses and is subject to a duty to mitigate your losses by looking for another job. The compensatory award is also now subject to two caps, first the overall cap of £74,200 and secondly the limit of 52 week’s gross pay for the purposes of compensation. Tribunals cannot award injury to feelings payments for unfair dismissal cases.

Written by
Edward Aston
14th January 2014