Wrongful Dismissal 

Wrongful dismissal is different to unfair dismissal because the fairness of the dismissal is not looked at. Wrongful dismissal is purely a contractual issue. A Tribunal or Court will look at the contractual obligations between yourself and your employer and whether these have been breached. Breach of contract claims can be heard in a Tribunal, County Court or High Court but if there is also a potential unfair dismissal claim, then your case can only be heard in an Employment Tribunal. 

Have I been wrongfully dismissed? 

To bring a claim for wrongful dismissal you must be able to show that you have suffered a loss and that this loss was caused by the breach of contract. 
 
Some examples of wrongful dismissal: 
 
Dismissal without the required statutory or contractual notice being given 
Dismissal without following contractual redundancy policy and procedures. 
Dismissal without following contractual disciplinary procedures. 

Can I be lawfully dismissed without notice? 

One of the most common wrongful dismissal claims is where an employer has dismissed their employee without giving the statutory or contractual notice. However, this doesn’t mean that the dismissal is automatically wrongful. An employer is entitled to summarily dismiss (dismiss without notice) if the employee has committed an act of gross misconduct, such as theft or fraud. 
 
An employer may have a Payment In Lieu of Notice (PILON) clause in their contract of employment. This allows the employer to dismiss the employee without giving notice by paying them the money they would have earned if they had worked their notice. Even if there is no PILON provision in the contract of employment an employer can still make a payment in lieu of notice. In these circumstances, if the employee has been put into the position they would have been in if they had worked their notice, then a claim for wrongful dismissal is likely to fail. 

Should I bring my claim in the Employment Tribunal or County/High Court? 

Awards for wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal are capped at £25,000. You may prefer to bring your claim in the County or High Court because they are no caps on compensation in the same way and the Court can award all losses that have stemmed from the breach of contract. 

What are the time limits for wrongful dismissal claims? 

You must bring a claim of wrongful dismissal to the Employment Tribunal three months less one day from the date of the dismissal. In the County or High Court, you have six years to bring a claim. 
 
Do you believe that you have been wrongfully dismissed? We can help you to pursue a claim in the Employment Tribunal or the Courts. Please contact us for specific legal advice. 
 
For further information about unfair dismissal, please click here
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