Speak up for Yourself: How to Challenge Unfair Dismissal in the UK
Being dismissed from your job can be one of the most stressful and challenging experiences anyone can face. It can leave you feeling vulnerable, lost, and unsure of where to turn. Unfortunately, it’s a situation that many people in the UK find themselves in every year. However, just because your employer has dismissed you, it doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. In fact, there are several steps you can take to challenge unfair dismissal and fight for your rights as an employee. In this article, we’ll explore the various ways in which you can speak up for yourself and challenge unfair dismissal in the UK. From understanding your employment rights to seeking legal advice and representation, we’ll give you the tools you need to stand up for yourself and fight for the justice you deserve. So, if you’ve been unfairly dismissed and don’t know where to turn, read on to find out how you can take action and challenge the decision.
Rights and responsibilities of employees and employers in unfair dismissal cases
As an employee, you have certain rights and responsibilities that your employer must follow. If you have been continuously employed for 2 years or more, one of these is the right not to be unfairly dismissed. This means that your employer must have a valid reason for dismissing you and must follow a fair procedure. If they don’t, it may be possible to challenge the decision and seek compensation. If you have less than 2 years service, there is no unfair dismissal, but there are other claims and options – if you have less than 2 years of service, please read our other article HERE.
There are several reasons why your employer may have unfairly dismissed you. Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities as an employee to challenge the decision if necessary.
To challenge unfair dismissal, you must first understand the types of unfair dismissal that exist in the UK.
Types of unfair dismissal – wrongful, constructive and automatic
There are three main types of unfair dismissal in the UK, and they include wrongful, constructive, and automatic dismissal.
Wrongful dismissal occurs when your employer has breached your employment contract by dismissing you without notice. This type of dismissal may entitle you to compensation for any losses you have suffered as a result.
Constructive dismissal occurs when your employer has fundamentally breached your employment contract, making it impossible for you to continue working for them. This may include things like reducing your pay, changing your job role, or subjecting you to bullying or harassment. To claim constructive dismissal, you must resign from your job and then bring a claim against your employer. See more information on constructive dismissal HERE.
An automatic unfair dismissal is where the principal reason for the dismissal was one of the “prohibited” reasons under the Employment Right Act 1996. Some of the common examples we see are dismissals because of family reasons or because people have raised concerns about health and safety issues at work. This type of dismissal is automatically unfair and there is no requirement to have been employed for at least 2 years.
The process of challenging unfair dismissal
If you believe that you’ve been unfairly dismissed, you will normally be given the chance to appeal the decision internally. Depending on the circumstances, appealing the decision is a good idea, and failing to do so may reduce the compensation available. There are some tricky legal considerations with appeals, so taking advice at this stage is a good idea.
If you have been dismissed and want to challenge the decision, you must commence Early Acas Conciliation within 3 months less than 1 day from the “effective date of termination,” which is the date your employment came to an end. We have a time-limit CALCULATOR to help you calculate this date.
If a resolution is not reached during Acas Conciliation, the next step is to file a claim. You may be more likely to achieve a settlement at an early stage if you are professionally represented.
To file a claim, you must complete a form and send it to the employment tribunal. There are again deadlines for this, which must be adhered to. The form will ask you to provide details of the dismissal and the reasons why you believe it was unfair.
You can find information on the key steps in a Tribunal claim HERE.
Legal representation – do you need a lawyer?
You don’t need a lawyer to bring a claim to an employment tribunal, but it can be helpful to have one. A lawyer can provide you with legal advice and representation throughout the process, helping you to navigate the complex legal system and increase your chances of success.
If you decide to use a lawyer, it’s important to choose one who specialises in employment law and has experience in representing clients in unfair dismissal cases.
There are some important points to consider before making a Tribunal claim, which we cover in more detail HERE.
One of the first points is to check if you have LEGAL EXPENSES INSURANCE, most commonly found under home contents policies.
Tips for presenting your unfair dismissal claim
Going through a tribunal claim can be stressful and time-consuming, but it’s important to be well-prepared. Here are some tips to help you when you first put your claim in:
– Sue the correct party (getting the legal identity of your employer wrong is surprisingly easy).
– Always write in date order.
– Be clear and brief.
– Use headings and break up the text. Avoid really long paragraphs.
– Be honest: Don’t exaggerate or lie about the circumstances of your dismissal. Stick to the facts and be accurate.
-Stick to your best points only.
For more detail on the above points, please go HERE.
Outcomes of a tribunal hearing – compensation, reinstatement, or re-engagement
If the tribunal finds in your favor, there are several outcomes that may result. These include:
– Compensation: You may be awarded compensation for any losses you’ve suffered as a result of your dismissal, such as lost wages or benefits.
– Reinstatement: The tribunal may order your employer to reinstate you in your old job.
– Re-engagement: If reinstatement isn’t possible, the tribunal may order your employer to re-engage you in a different job.
Conclusion – taking action to challenge unfair dismissal
Being unfairly dismissed can be a difficult and stressful experience, but it’s important to remember that you have rights as an employee. By understanding your legal rights and responsibilities, seeking legal advice and representation, and preparing well for a tribunal hearing, you can challenge unfair dismissal and fight for the justice you deserve. Whether you choose to go through a tribunal hearing, the most important thing is to take action and stand up for yourself. For example, we can help you take steps to challenge the dismissal and try to obtain you compensation now, in the hope of avoiding a Tribunal claim. This is often a faster (and cheaper) option, which often provides a more satisfactory solution.