In general you need to have at least 2 years' continuous employment with an employer to be able to bring an employment claim for Unfair Dismissal although there are some exceptions to this general rule.
Unless your former employer can show that the dismissal was for one of 5 recognised "fair" reasons and that the dismissal was handled in a fair manner, you will have been unfairly dismissed and you can be awarded compensation by an Employment Tribunal.
You can be constructively dismissed if your employer has acted totally unreasonably towards you, for instance by reducing your pay without your agreement, demoting you for no good reason, bullying or harassing you.
An employee should usually lodge a grievance to their employer about the unreasonable treatment before starting an unfair Constructive Dismissal claim, otherwise under the new ACAS Code, any compensation could be reduced by up to 25%.
The maximum compensation that a Tribunal can order for a "normal" Unfair Dismissal is approx £95,500. This is comprised of two parts, the Basic Award and the Compensatory Award.
The Basic Award depends on your age, length of employment and gross weekly earnings. At present, the limit for the basic award is £14,970.
The Compensatory Award, with a maximum of £80,541 or 1 year's pay (whichever is the smaller) is based upon your actual financial losses suffered, in most cases being your loss of earnings (plus benefits such as company car and pension). Even if you get a new job after being dismissed you can still bring a claim for any difference in the level of earnings between the two jobs.
As a general rule you must first register your proposed employment claim to ACAS for Early Conciliation within three months less a day from your Effective Date of Termination.
If the Early Conciliation with ACAS does not succeed they will issue an Early Conciliation Certificate and the Claim must then be validly submitted to the Tribunal. There is a minimum of 1 month from the date of the ACAS certificate in which to start the Tribunal claim (sometimes more).
The Tribunal is extremely unlikely to extend the time to allow you to bring a claim. There are also quite complex rules about when the Effective Date of Termination is. For these reasons it is vital to get advice as soon as possible after your dismissal.
We have extensive experience of acting in claims for Unfair Dismissals from our offices in Reading and Oxford. If you would like to enquire about a possible Unfair Dismissal claim or Constructive Dismissal employment claim please contact us.
Jonathan West has 30 years experience helping resolve employment claims for people across the Thames Valley and South East England.
In many cases when you have a valid employment claim to the Employment Tribunal for Unfair Dismissal, Constructive Dismissal or a claim for breach of contract we can act for you on a "no win – no fee" basis.
In other words, we take the case on and if you win the case we charge you a fixed % of what you get from your former employer (either at Tribunal or through a settlement). If you lose your case we do not charge you a penny – so you can have the peace of mind of not having to lose any of your money on bringing a claim!
If we are not able to offer a "no win – no fee" arrangement we can bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal on a fee-paying basis, and we are always happy to work within agreed fee-budgets which goes to ensure that you keep control on legal costs as the case progresses.