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Employment for Individuals

Unfair Dismissal Advice

Susie Al-Qassab
Susie Al‑Qassab
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Natalie Wellock
Ellen Clabburn
Ellen Clabburn

Employees with the necessary length of service are protected in law against unfair dismissal.

Constructive dismissal occurs when your employer acts in a way that seriously breaches your employment contract and you resign as a result.

If you feel you’ve been unfairly dismissed or that your employer has left you with no choice, other than to resign then our expert employment lawyers are here to help with clear advice on all of your options.

Understanding unfair dismissals

Dismissals can be unfair usually because:

  • One of the 5 fair reasons for dismissal don’t apply. Fair reasons for dismissal are: (in)capability, (mis)conduct, redundancy, continued employment would contravene a statute (illegal employment), or some other substantial reason (e.g. clash of personalities, breakdown in relationships etc.).
  • Your employer has failed to follow a fair process.
  • It’s not reasonable for you to have been dismissed in the circumstances.

Dismissal on certain grounds, for example whistle-blowing, maternity leave, or exercising other statutory rights, is automatically unfair and employees can bring a claim from day one.


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How can you get representation?

Contact our specialist employment law team

If you’re going through a disciplinary, performance management or redundancy process we can advise and assist with challenges to fair process and appeals. We’ll help you strengthen your position by advising on what your employer may be doing wrong.

Alternatively, if you’ve been dismissed, we can advise on the strength of your unfair dismissal claim and potential compensation. We also advise on bringing and conducting an employment tribunal claim.

Create a strategy

Once we understand your position, a qualified solicitor will work with you to create a plan of action.

Discuss fees

From the beginning, we’ll provide you with up-front cost estimates based on the work/advice required so you’re clear on your costs. We’ll also keep you up to date throughout.

If you succeed with an unfair dismissal claim at an Employment Tribunal you’re entitled to compensation on the following basis:

Basic award

The basic award is a statutory award that involves multiplying a) your length of continuous service at the point of dismissal (up to a maximum of 20 years); b) a multiplier based on your age; and c) your gross weekly pay as at the date of dismissal. A week’s pay is subject to a statutory cap which is £538 (correct from 6 April 2020 but subject to change).

If you’ve been dismissed by reason of redundancy, the tribunal will reduce the basic award by the amount of any Statutory Redundancy Pay you’ve received.

Compensatory award

The compensatory award is based on the loss of income you’ve incurred as a result of your dismissal (subject to your duty to lessen your loss i.e. made a reasonable effort to find alternative employment).The maximum Compensatory Award you can be awarded in ordinary unfair dismissal cases is the lower of either the statutory cap of £88,519 or 52 weeks gross salary (correct as of 6 April 2020 but subject to change). This award can be enhanced or reduced, for example if the employee is found to have contributed to their dismissal (contributory fault) or the employer has unreasonably failed to comply with the ACAS Code on Grievances and Disciplinary Procedures.

In some cases, there’s no cap on the compensation that can be awarded.

If you’re a higher earner and/or you’ve already received severance from your employer, you’ll need to carefully consider if it’s worth making an unfair dismissal claim because of the statutory cap.

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Why choose Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitor?

If your employer hasn’t followed the correct procedures in dismissing you, or if your dismissal came about in connection with a business transfer that was handled badly, you may have a claim. We can advise you on your chances of success and how to challenge the dismissal.

Solicitors who are highly regarded

We have extensive experience of supporting clients through unfair dismissal claims. We bring a highly personalised approach tailored to each case, whether it’s high value or small.

Advice you can trust

We’ve won substantial pay outs for clients across a wide range of industry sectors, both through out-of-court settlements and by way of compensation at the end of a successful employment tribunal. If you’re facing a tribunal hearing, we can assist at every stage.

Lawyers who are on your side

Employment relations may have deteriorated, perhaps through bullying or harassment, making the case more complex. In all situations, our understanding, expert lawyers skilfully fight for you to protect your reputation and achieve a positive outcome.

"Homa formulated a clear strategy in order to deal with the matter, which resulted in a very positive outcome for me both personally and financially."

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Featured cases

Allegations of gross misconduct withdrawn by employer

We were instructed by a university employee who was accused of gross misconduct and was told by his employer that dismissal was imminent. We avoided a dismissal by successfully contesting the allegations of gross misconduct – which were withdrawn. We raised a grievance, which the employer was forced to uphold. Due to the weight of our evidence, we secured a very advantageous compensation package for our client.

Succeeded in pursuing claim for constructive unfair dismissal and disability discrimination

We recently won a tribunal claim for a Senior Director who was pursuing a claim in the Employment Tribunal for constructive unfair dismissal and disability discrimination, in relation to treatment he was subjected to following a diagnosis of stomach cancer and heart disease.

Lawyers negotiated settlement for unfair redundancy

We negotiated a settlement for an unfairly redundant employee at the pre-claim stage in excess of the statutory cap on compensation, along with the retention of his share options, and last year’s bonus and an agreed detailed reference and announcement regarding his departure.


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Frequently asked questions

Can I claim unfair dismissal?

Ordinarily you may have a claim for unfair dismissal if you’ve been employed continuously by your employer for 103 weeks (2 years less 1 week) or more, and you believe the reason you’ve been dismissed is unfair and/or your employer didn’t follow a fair procedure when dismissing you.

Regardless of your length of service, you may have a claim for automatic unfair dismissal in certain exceptional circumstances.

When should I seek advice from a solicitor?

The short answer is as soon as possible. If you’re still employed, getting early advice ensures we can identify the strength of your legal claims and advise on how best to proceed when dealing with your employer. This will avoid the risk of you saying or doing something which may jeopardise your legal position.

I've already been dismissed, can I take legal action?

If you’ve already been dismissed, you have three months less one day from the date of termination to start legal action, subject to ACAS Early Conciliation, which is a compulsory step before issuing a claim. This deadline is enforced strictly. If you fail to act in time, you can be prevented from pursuing a claim.

How much will I get if I am successful in a claim for unfair dismissal?

The value of your claim will largely depend on what your actual financial loss is as a result of being unfairly dismissed.

This may be limited if you’ve secured a new job quickly at a comparable income. Compensation for ordinary unfair dismissal claims is also subject to a statutory cap (the lower of a year’s salary or £88,519 (correct as of 6 April 2020 but subject to change).

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