Being accused of unfair dismissal can have serious consequences for you and your business, including the payment of court fees, compensation pay outs and damage to your businesses’ reputation.
At Lupton Fawcett, we have a team of dedicated and experienced employment solicitors who will provide you with help and advice in an unfair dismissal case and most importantly, help protect your business.
Avoiding Unfair Dismissal Claims
Unless your business can prove that an employee has been dismissed for one of the five reasons set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996, you may be accused of unfair dismissal.
The five reasons for fair dismissal are:
- A lack of capability or qualifications
- Conduct of the employee (such as attendance, dishonesty and gross misconduct)
- Breach of a statutory duty or restriction
- Some other substantial reason (SOSR)
However, establishing a potentially fair reason for dismissal is only half the battle. Crucially, employers also need to be able to demonstrate that they have acted reasonably in dismissing an employee if a claim for unfair dismissal is to be avoided.
Automatic Unfair Dismissal
A dismissal will be deemed ‘automatically unfair’ if an employee has been dismissed for the following reasons:
- If an employee has exercised a statutory employment right such as paternity or maternity leave
- Trade union participation
- The dismissal was connected to a health and safety reason
- Dismissal by business transfer
Processes and Procedures
Unfair dismissal cases can also be made if your businesses did not follow a fair procedure when dismissing an employee. For example, this could include not following the usual disciplinary process before letting an employee go, selectively choosing people to make redundant or failing to offer a right of appeal.
In order to avoid this, it is imperative that your business not only has effective processes and procedures in place, but that they are followed, too.
What is the Difference Between Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal?
Unfair dismissal is a statutory claim which can ordinarily only be brought by employees with two years' or more continuous service. Wrongful dismissal is a contractual claim (typically but not always relating to an allegation that the employer has failed to honour the employee's notice entitlements).
Is There a Minimum Period of Employment Necessary for an Employee to Make an Unfair Dismissal Claim?
In cases of automatic unfair dismissal, there is no minimum period of employment necessary for unfair dismissal cases to be made; in all other cases employees need to have gained two years' continuous employment with their employer before they qualify for the right to commence a claim for unfair dismissal.
How We Can Help
We work closely with clients at every stage of the dismissal process in order to ensure that they maximise the potential for a successful outcome. Our employment lawyers are frequently involved in providing support and guidance to businesses in terms of carrying out internal investigations together with the general management of the dismissal process and any subsequent legal proceedings.
We are also on hand to step in when things do not go that well or in situations where businesses wish to proceed with a dismissal (possibly for commercial reasons) which may carry a greater degree of exposure and risk than would normally be the case.
Talk To Us
Our unfair dismissal solicitors provide advice to businesses across Yorkshire and the north, working from our offices in Sheffield, Leeds and York. If you are seeking unfair dismissal advice for employers call us today on 0333 323 5292 or contact us using the details below.
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