Dismissal: Businesses sometimes have no choice but to dismiss an employee.  If handled incorrectly, there could be serious repercussions.

Wrongful Dismissal: This is a claim by the employee that their contract has been breached in the dismissal process, e.g. their employment has been terminated without the correct notice.  An Employment Tribunal may award compensation to cover the period of notice that was not given.

Unfair Dismissal: Usually, an employee requires two years of service or employment to bring a claim of unfair dismissal. However, in some circumstances, employees can bring a claim from the day employment starts. In order to dismiss an employee who is protected from unfair dismissal, you must have a fair reason, and go through a fair procedure. Under the Employment Rights Act 1996 there are five fair reasons to dismiss an employee, which are:

  • A reason relating to an employee’s capability or qualifications for performing the kind of work they were employed to do
  • A reason relating to an employee’s conduct
  • Redundancy
  • That the employee could not continue to work in the position held without contravening a duty or restriction imposed by or under an enactment. For example, a driver who loses his driving licence, or
  • Some other substantial reason of a kind such as to justify the dismissal of an employee holding the position which they hold. This often arises in business reorganisations or where, for strong business reasons, contracts need to be varied. Generally there is an emphasis on consultation and considering alternatives before such a dismissal will be regarded as fair

If the employee does not fall into these categories and if  you do not follow a fair procedure, then the dismissal will be unfair and the employee will be entitled to claim compensation at the Employment Tribunal.

Constructive unfair dismissal: This is where you break a fundamental contractual term.  The employee reacts to your breach of contract by resigning and claiming he or she has been ‘constructively dismissed’.

Our Role: The Employment team is very experienced at advising businesses on the dismissal process and how to minimise the risk of a claim.   As we also advise employees, we are well aware of the tactics used to either delay the procedure, or increase compensation.

If you do receive a claim following a dismissal, then we provide practical and proactive advice.  We will advise on the merits of fighting the claim to a contested hearing, or settlement.  We will advise you of the cost and benefit of settling, or fighting the claim, at each stage of the process.