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Fired Unfairly? Making A Dismissal Claim
Losing your job, even one that you never particularly liked all that much, can be devastating on a number of levels. They say that we’re all only two paydays away from destitution. Even in a liberal democracy with a robust welfare state, losing your job unexpectedly can prove ruinous not just for your household finances, but for your self-esteem, sense of purpose and psychological wellbeing.
In many cases, this happens as the result of an involuntary redundancy or an employer unexpectedly downsizing or going out of business. There are some cases, however, where your employer may have dismissed you unfairly in a way that is legally actionable.
If you suspect that your employer has wrongfully let you go, this article will guide you through the appropriate way to make a wrongful dismissal claim. However, first, it’s important to remember…
Unfair doesn’t always mean illegal
Depending on where you live, your dismissal may not be illegal. Rightly or wrongly, while your employer’s dismissal of you may be unfair, unjust, immoral and reprehensible it may not be illegal.
Indeed, if you live in the United States, for example, your employer has the legal right to fire you for pretty much anything from airing political views they disagree with to your preferred sports team.
If, however, you were fired as a result of your age, race, gender, sexuality or disability you should see the Hayber Law Firm or your local equivalent.
Even in the UK, while your boss may not strictly be able to fire you on such arbitrary grounds, legislation put into place by the Conservative government in 2013 can make it very costly to take them to an employment tribunal, making plaintiffs responsible for paying the £1,200 tribunal fee.
Wrongful dismissal vs unfair dismissal
You could be forgiven for assuming that the above terms can be used interchangeably but they are in fact two different sorts of claims. A wrongful dismissal is when your employer has not lived up to their obligations under the terms of your employment contract e.g. failing to give the appropriate notice period. This kind of claim can be made at any time.
In the case of an unfair dismissal, however, this is a matter of your employer having insufficient reason to dismiss you. In order to make this claim, you need to have been working for them for a minimum of 2 years minus one week.
Making a claim
Making a claim is a fairly straightforward process. A claim in the UK can be made via the government’s website here. If you need help or advice in filling out your claim form ACAS, the quango in charge of employment law issues can offer you all the free advice you need. You may also wish to seek legal counsel when making your claim.
What to expect
As long as you can demonstrate that your employer did not have sufficient reason to dismiss you and that you were not in breach of contract, guilty of gross misconduct or your employer cannot prove any wrongdoing on your part, the odds are in your favour.
Tribunals of this sort usually last between 4 and 6 months of the initial claim being lodged and the damages will depend on a variety of conditions such as pay and performance.
With the right advice and support, however, you can seek justice and continue your career with confidence.
This is a collaborative post.