Philip Landau reviews unfair dismissal


Philip Landau reviews unfair dismissal law

Philip Landau reviews unfair dismissal law in the UK below. This is a nutshell guide for quick and easy reading.

For our full and detailed page on unfair dismissal, please click here

Who can make a claim?

To claim unfair dismissal:

  • you need to be an employee;
  • you need to be employed for a continuous period of 2 years with the same employer. There are some exceptions where the 2 year rule does not apply, such as where you are claiming whistle- blowing, or where you have asserted a statutory employment right, e.g. relating to maternity or paternity. For the full list of exceptions, click here

Who has to prove that the dismissal was fair?

Your employer does.

How does your employer prove the dismissal was fair?

Your employer must show that the reason relates to one  or more of the following categories:

  • capability of the work you are supposed to be carrying out;
  • your conduct;
  • your redundancy;
  • whether your continued employment would contravene a statute;
  • some other substantial reason (which does not relate to one of the above).

Once your employer gets over the above hurdle, an employment tribunal would still need to decide whether the decision to dismiss was fair or unfair looking at what is equitable, and the merits of the case. The tribunal will also look at whether dismissal was a reasonable response.

What about process?

If your employer does not follow a correct process before dismissing you, this could amount to an unfair dismissal. Such processes include:

  • sufficient warnings and notice in disciplinary proceedings;
  • consultation within a redundancy situation and;
  • sufficient performance reviews in capability dismissals.

It is very important that employers follow a reasonable process if they are thinking of dismissing you. Your employer could, however, still ultimately defeat a claim for payment of actual damages if you win the unfair dismissal proceedings. They would need to show that even if they had followed a process, the decision to dismiss would still have been the same. This is not always easy for an employer to show.

How long do I have to make the claim?

You need to start the tribunal process within 3 months’ less one day from the date you have been dismissed. This is commenced by notifying the claim with ACAS under their early conciliation process. No claim can be started unless ACAS has been notified first. The time limit is very strict.

What is the maximum amount of compensation that I can receive?

Compensation is two-fold. There is the basic award and the compensation award.

The maximum basic award is £15,750. as at 2020. You would need to be employed by up to 20 years to obtain this.

The maximum compensatory award is £86,444, or 52 weeks salary, whichever is the lowest.