Unfair Dismissal Claims (and Unfair Dismissal Compensation)

If you feel as though you have been treated unfairly in your dismissal, our unfair dismissal lawyers are here to help with your unfair dismissal claim.

Since April 2012 an employee needs 2 years’ of continuous service to bring an unfair dismissal claim.

An unfair dismissal claim must be brought within three months less a day of the effective date of termination. Please note if an appeal is not upheld against a dismissal, the termination date will remain as the original date of dismissal.

Potentially fair reasons for dismissal

It is possible for an employer to dismiss fairly for five reasons:

  1. Conduct
  2. Capability
  3. Redundancy
  4. Illegality
  5. “some other substantial reason”

How does the Employment Tribunal decide if the dismissal was unfair?

The Employment Tribunal will consider the following, taking into account the size and nature of the employer:

  1. Reason for dismissal.
  2. Whether the employer acted reasonably in all the circumstances.

The employer must show the reason for the dismissal. The employee and employer must prove their cases in relation whether a fair procedure was following, taking into account all the circumstances.

Employees with less than 2 years’ service

If a dismissal is automatically unfair, an employee can bring a claim with less than 2 years’ service.

Examples of automatically unfair dismissals include: if a woman is dismissed because she is pregnant, if an employee is dismissed for trade union activities or because they have made a protected disclosure at work (“whistleblowing”).

How much compensation can be awarded for unfair dismissal claims?

If you win an unfair dismissal claim, the Employment Tribunal will then decide how much, if any, compensation to award.

Unfair dismissal compensation includes two elements:

  1. Basic award: calculated in the same way as a statutory redundancy payment, taking into account age, gross weekly pay (subject to a legal cap that is revised annually) and length of service. The online Government calculator uses the same calculation to work out your basic award.
  2. Compensatory award: including net loss of earnings, pension, bonus/commission, other benefits and expenses incurred seeking new employment. It is important to keep full records of job searches and applications to support their claim for loss of earnings (the employee is under a duty to mitigate their loss).

There is a legal cap on the amount of the compensatory award (the figure is revised annually, and is the lower of the cap or 1 year’s salary), unless you were dismissed because of whistle blowing or health and safety reasons in which case the award is unlimited.

Can unfair dismissal compensation be reduced?

Yes, the Employment Tribunal has the power to reduce the compensatory award, for example:

  1. If following a fair procedure would have led to the same outcome (“Polkey” reductions).
  2. If an employee contributed to their dismissal.
  3. Failure to comply with the ACAS Code of Practice, which applies to the employee and employer. For example, if the employee does not appeal a decision to dismiss or the employer does not offer the right of appeal. The compensatory award can be increased or decreased by up to 25%.

Steps to take before issuing an Employment Tribunal claim

Before bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal or court, you could consider trying to negotiate a settlement agreement with your employer to avoid the need for proceedings.

Our unfair dismissal lawyers have a wealth of experience in successfully negotiating settlement agreements.

How can we help?

Please contact one of our experienced unfair dismissal lawyers to discuss your potential claim.


How much compensation can I get for unfair dismissal?

The basic award is calculated in the same way as a statutory redundancy payment and takes into account your length of service (often subject to a legal cap of 20 years), gross weekly pay (often subject to a legal cap which is currently £484), and age (you get 0.5 week’s gross pay for each complete year employed under age of 22; one week’s pay for each year employed aged 22 to 40, and 1.5 week’s for each year employed aged 41 or over). The government online calculator is useful – https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-redundancy-pay

A tribunal will also consider awarding a compensatory award which will include the following:

Loss of earnings;

Loss of bonus/commission;

Loss of other benefits;


Loss of protection as a result of unfair dismissal; and

Loss of pension rights.

There is a statutory cap (currently £80,541) unless you were dismissed because of whistle blowing or health and safety reasons in which case the award is unlimited.

How much notice do you have to give for redundancy?

The law states that employees must give one week’s notice, and that employers must give employees the following minimum notice:

Between one month and one year’s employment: one week;

After one year: one week;

After 2 years: 2 weeks and an additional week for each complete year of employment, up to 12 weeks notice.

What is the consultation period for redundancy?

In a redundancy situation and before serving notice the employer must consult with the employees. If fewer than 20 redundancies are proposed there are no time limits in respect of the length of consultation.

If 20 to 99 redundancies are proposed within 90 days, consultation must last for 30days; and

If 100 or more redundancies proposed, consultation must last for 45 days.

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Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services

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