Is your employer guilty of wrongful dismissal?

If your employment has been ended by your employer, it is important to understand whether or not your dismissal can be viewed as wrongful under UK employment law.

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The most common example of wrongful dismissal is when the employer breaches the terms of the employment contract by failing to give the required notice or not paying in lieu of notice.

Employment tribunals

You will find an explanation of whether or not you may have a case for wrongful dismissal online.

If you are not able to resolve the issue with your employer, you may be able to take the matter to an employment tribunal. You can find more information about your rights when it comes to tribunals on the UK government website.

A dismissal is wrongful if it involve breaches of not only express terms, but also implied terms in your contract. This means that other examples include failure to abide by a dismissal procedure embodied in the contract or terminating a fixed-term agreement unlawfully before its end date.

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Dismissal without pay or notice

One of the most common examples of this kind of dismissal occurs when an employee’s contract is terminated with no or insufficient notice, thus breaching the contract. The length of notice will depend on the contract itself and any possible application of the statutory minimum notice.

Statutory minimum notice is at least one week after employment between a month and two years and a further one week’s notice per year of employment, from two to 12 years, culminating in a maximum of 12 weeks.

If the period notice in the contract and the statutory minimum differ in length, the employer must apply whichever is longest.

An employer may offer pay in lieu of notice, but only where this is mentioned expressly in the contract of employment.

To establish that their dismissal is wrongful, an employee is required to not only prove that their contract of employment has been breached as a result of the termination, but also that they suffered loss as a result of the breach – for example, loss of pay.

Except in the case of an automatically unfair dismissal, an employee does not have to have accrued a set period of service to pursue a claim. Instead, it is a statutory right as soon as the employment commences.

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