Wrongful Dismissal or Unfair Dismissal
Have you lost your job for no good reason? Have you not received a proper notice period? Have you been put in a position where you feel pressurized to resign? If so, you may be entitled to make a claim for Wrongful Dismissal or Unfair Dismissal.
What is a Wrongful Dismissal? Wrongful Dismissal is a situation where an employee has been fired unfairly, unreasonably or without sufficient cause.
What constitutes a Wrongful Dismissal in law may depend upon factors such as the size of the business, the nature of your contract and how long you have been employed. However, some reasons for dismissal may qualify as a Wrongful Dismissal regardless such factors.
Wrongful Dismissal Entitlements The basis for most Wrongful Dismissal awards is to reimburse the employee for loss of earnings from a proper period of notice - this will obviously depend upon the nature of the employment and the length of service. However, some awards - for instance those related to violation of the employee's Human Rights may exceed this.
If you have a legitimate case for an Unfair Dismissal Claim, many businesses may choose to settle out of court rather than incur the significant legal costs of defending a case. As a claimant, if you go to court and lose, unless you can obtain Legal Aid or have a No Win No Fee agreement with a Law Firm - you may find yourself liable for the legal costs of your employers - this would be more likely if you turned down a reasonable offer for an out of court settlement.
Do you have a Wrongful Dismissal Claim? Ultimately this is down to the courts to decide, although a suitable Employment Lawyer will be able to advise you on your chances for success. Issues to consider include:
Discrimination - if there is evidences that your dismissal was a form of discrimination - for instance because of your sex, race, religion, physical disabilities or age - it may be in breach of your basic human rights.
Insufficient Cause - There are some causes that support immediate dismissal - theft, violence or threatening behaviour for instance - isolated instances of less serious issues, however, would not normally be considered sufficient cause - businesses would need to show evidence of a history of infringements and formal warnings to demonstrate sufficient cause for dismissal.
Constructive Dismissal - if your job has changed or you are treated in such an unreasonable manner that you feel under pressure to resign, you may be entitled to claim that you have been constructively dismissed. If your remuneration or working conditions have been degraded, or your level of responsibility or authority reduced there may be a case for Constructive Dismissal. If the behaviour of your superiors or colleagues towards you is unacceptable has led to you feeling unable to carry on in your job, this too could be the basis of an Unfair Dismissal Claim. Your case would be strengthened if you have actually left your job - or are possibly not working due to stress related illnesses - as a consequence of your treatment, but ideally seek advice first.
Find an Employment Lawyer If you believe you have a case worth pursuing, your next steps should be to talk about your concerns to the company personnel officer - or whoever is responsible with employment issues. If this does not adequately address your concerns, or other circumstances prevent you having a reasonable discussion, then you need to seek an Employment Lawyer. A good Employment Lawyer should be able to provide you with advice, specific to your personal situation, as to whether you have a case worth pursuing.
Some Employment Lawyers may be prepared to take on your case for a No Win No Fee basis. Choosing this option may reduce your exposure to possible costs should you lose, but it may reduce the value of a final award if your win - ideally, your erstwhile employers should fund this though. If your case is not accepted on a No Win No Fee basis, it does not mean that you do not have a case, but it may mean that there is not a good case or strong evidence to support it.
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