Unfair Dismissal Solicitors 

Get advice regarding your dismissal 

Get immediate feedback, at no cost, on whether you may have an unfair dismissal claim 
Get clarity on your options and what it might cost to make a claim 
Discover whether the cost of your claim can be covered by an existing insurance policy 
Get specialist support with your claim to make the process easier 
Clear advice in plain English - no confusing legal jargon 
National representation - we offer video consultations 
If you’ve been dismissed and think it may have been unfair, we’ll help you to understand your rights and options, so that you can move on with your career. 

Not sure if you have a claim? Download our free guide 

Our guide covers the 5 key questions we get asked most often about Unfair Dismissal claims, to help you decide your next steps. Your guide will be delivered to your email address. 

Unfair Dismissal Key Points 

You may have a claim for unfair dismissal if you have been dismissed without a legally fair reason. This is different to the common sense use of fairness. 
You must have been dismissed. In general, this is obvious, as your employer will tell you clearly, often in writing, that your employment has been terminated. Confusing language or words spoken in the heat of the moment may amount to a dismissal - it is important to get advice before starting a claim if the position isn’t clear. If it is unclear then you, the employee, must prove that you have been dismissed. 
Your employer must prove that the dismissal was for a legally fair reason. 
A claim must be made within three months of the date that your employment terminates. This includes the date of termination as day 1.  
Unfair Dismissal is separate from Wrongful Dismissal, which is based purely on contractual terms, and Constructive Dismissal, which depends on you taking action in response to your employer’s conduct. 

What is Unfair Dismissal? 

You have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim if your employer has dismissed you without a legally fair reason. 
The test isn’t fairness in the common sense meaning of the phrase; it’s whether there was a legally fair reason to bring your employment to an end. 
It’s for your employer to prove that the reason for the dismissal was one of the potentially fair reasons that the law allows. If your employer can’t show that it had a fair reason to dismiss you, then the dismissal will be unfair. 
The primary fair reasons are that: 
you are guilty of misconduct 
your aren't capable of doing your job 
you lack a qualification necessary to do the job 
your role is redundant 
Dismissal may also be fair if: 
your continued employment in the job would break the law 
there is some other substantial reason, such as a clash of personalities or failure to adapt to new working processes, serious enough to justify dismissal. 
Dismissal must also be a reasonable response. Even with a fair reason for dismissal, your employer must still have reasonable grounds for believing that it was entitled to dismiss you.  
For example: 
An employee is dismissed for hitting a colleague: an obvious example of misconduct. But if there is clear evidence that the employee wasn’t the one who carried out the assault, which the employer would have discovered had they investigated properly, the dismissal will be unfair. 
A long-standing employee who is a few minutes late for work one day is dismissed for poor time keeping. Even if the employer has stipulated that lateness is considered to be misconduct, dismissing for a minor infringement of the rule is likely to be unfair. 


Capability dismissals generally fall into two categories: ill-health and failure to do your job to a reasonable standard. 
Ill-health in this context typically means your long-term absence for medical reasons places your employer in economic difficulty. Performance-related capability dismissals often occur after a prolonged period of under-performance. 
If you have been dismissed for capability, it will depend on the circumstances of your case whether it is fair or not.  

Unfair Dismissal and Discrimination  

If you believe your dismissal was related to a protected characteristic listed in the Equality Act 2010, it may have been discriminatory. If so, you may be able to claim for unfair dismissal and discrimination. There are a few ways your dismissal could be discriminatory: 
Direct discrimination: If you were dismissed because of a protected characteristic. 
Indirect discrimination: If you were dismissed in relation to a policy or practice which has the effect of treating employees with a protected characteristic less favourably than others. It doesn’t matter whether your employer intends to discriminate, it is the effect of the policy that’s important. There may be times that indirect discrimination can be justified, for example where the policy is a proportionate or necessary way to achieve a legitimate aim. 
Victimisation: If you were dismissed because you enforced your rights, or your employer believed you intended to. This could include if you brought a legal claim under the Equality Act or gave evidence at proceedings. 
An experienced employment law solicitor can help you to understand whether your dismissal was discriminatory and what you can do about it.  

What is a protected characteristic? 

Sexual orientation 
Marriage or civil partnership 
Gender reassignment 

Can a Redundancy be Unfair Dismissal? 

Redundancies occur most commonly if your employer no longer needs as many employees in a certain role or location. The decision to make redundancies is up to the employer and the law won’t interfere lightly.  
However, your redundancy could be an unfair dismissal if your employer did not have the right to make redundancies or failed to follow a fair and legal procedure. Usually, unfair dismissal claims relating to redundancy are about: 
whether you should have been selected for redundancy 
the process followed to choose which employees were made redundant 
that you weren't offered alternative work that was available.  
Redundancy is different from other legally fair dismissals because you might have the right to statutory compensation. 
If you are being made redundant, visit our redundancy page for more information. 

How long do I have to claim for unfair dismissal? 

You must make your claim within three months of the date that your employment effectively terminates. That includes the date of termination as day one. So, if the date of termination is, say, 26th April, the date by which you must filing a claim with the Employment Tribunal is 25th July. There are very few exceptions where the time may be extended. 
Your deadline will allow for Early Conciliation (the mandatory procedure that must be followed before a claim can be started). You can find out more about Early Conciliation here. 

How much compensation will I get for unfair dismissal? 

The potential compensation if your claim is successful depends on a number of things. You can visit our Compensation and damages page for general information on unfair dismissal compensation, but we advise you to speak to specialist employment and unfair dismissal solicitors like Spencer Shaw for advice specific to your situation. We will explain the remedies available to you, either through the ACAS and Employment Tribunal processes, or by negotiating an agreement with your employer. We will also tell you what the risks are. 

Get in touch 

Do you have a legal matter you'd like to discuss with us? Get in touch using the details below or use the form here and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your enquiry. 
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Phone: 0121 817 0520 
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Address: Spencer Shaw Solicitors Limited 
St Mary's House, 68 Harborne Park Road,  
Harborne, Birmingham, B17 0DH 
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Opening hours: 
Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM 
Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays - Closed 
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