Michael Lewin Solicitors are expert lawyers in Employment and Stress at Work claims. Based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, we deal with cases across England and Wales.
- You must claim within 3 months of dismissal
- You must have been employed for more than 2 years
- No Win, No Fee Available
- Dedicated and highly skilled Employment Law team
- All Personal claims undertaken
- Free advice from a qualified solicitor
- High success rate for clients
- National coverage
- Common Questions Answered here
View our short Legal Minute video guide on Unfair Dismissal.
We regularly act for clients who have claims for unfair dismissal (see information about Wrongful Dismissal), and we specialise in acting for clients under No Win, No Fee Agreements.
We offer expert advice on any potential claims that you may have against your employer, whether in the Employment Tribunal or the Civil Courts. We will conduct an initial assessment of your claim for free, and we act for the vast majority of our clients under the terms of a No Win, No Fee Agreement.
Employees have the basic right to not be dismissed unfairly by their employers. However, this does not prevent employers from dismissing employees, and claiming that the reason for dismissal was a fair one, when the reality is much less straight forward.
There are very strict timescales for making a claim; your case must be registered with ACAS, for Early Conciliation, within three months (less one day) of the date that your employment ended. If this deadline is not met, then your claim will likely be time barred.
It is, therefore, vital that you instruct a solicitor as soon as possible so that they can advise you on whether or not you have a claim and, if so, how best to pursue it.
Michael Lewin Solicitors are experts in employment compensation claims, and can advise you through the legal issues surrounding such claims.
In order to be eligible to bring a claim for unfair dismissal, you must (with some exceptions):
- Be an employee (i.e. NOT self-employed or an agency worker);
- Have been continuously employed for at least two years prior to the date of dismissal.
If an dismissal claim is successful, the Employment Tribunal can award a successful Claimant the following:
- Compensation, including loss of earnings and loss of pension rights.
- Re-engagement; or
There are strict time limits to making a claim for unfair dismissal. The claim must be started within three months (less one day) of the effective date of termination, which is the date that your employment ended.
Unfair dismissal is pursued in the Employment Tribunal, rather than the Civil Courts. This means that all claims must be registered with ACAS under the Early Conciliation scheme. Michael Lewin Solicitors are able to assist you with this, as well as all of the later stages of making a claim.
Objection to Transfer
Employees have the right to object to a TUPE transfer. However, if they do, the employment terminates on the transfer date. As there is no dismissal, there would be no entitlement to claim compensation if a TUPE transfer is objected to.
Most rights, obligations, and duties pass from the ‘old employer’ to the ‘new employer’ upon the transfer. (The most important exception to this is pension rights.) This means that, if the employee has not objected to the transfer, the employment contract remains in place and the ‘new employer’ becomes responsible for the ‘old employer’s’ liabilities. There are some exceptions but, generally, if contractual changes are put in place because of the transfer, the changes are likely to be void, as contracts cannot be changed. This is the case even if the employee initially agrees to the changes to their contract.
No Win, No Fee
Michael Lewin Solicitors are experts in dealing with employment compensation claims. We usually offer a ‘No Win, No Fee Agreement’ (sometimes called a Damages-Based Agreement). In addition, we can also provide insurance to insure you against paying the Tribunal Fees in the event that your claim is not successful, and other such risks.
We are based in Leeds, but work with clients across England and Wales.
Unfair Dismissal: The Law
The current law on unfair dismissal is contained within the Employment Rights Act 1996.
If you have been employed for more than two years, and you have been dismissed for a reason that you do not believe is fair, you could have a potential claim against your employer, and you may be entitled to compensation. However, there are some exceptions, which we will look at below.
Unfair Dismissal: Excluded persons
You are specifically excluded from having a right to claim for unfair dismissal if you:
- are not an employee, or you are self-employed;
- are an employee who has signed a settlement agreement agreeing not to claim unfair dismissal;
- Are an employee who has agreed, through ACAS, not to pursue an unfair dismissal compensation claim;
- are a member of the armed forces or police;
- have diplomatic immunity;
- are a mariner or share fisherman;
- have an illegal contract;
- work abroad (but there are some exceptions to this).
Fairness of the Dismissal
S.95 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 allows an employer to dismiss an employee. However the reason for dismissal, and the process followed by the employer, must be ‘fair’.
There are some circumstances in which a dismissal will be considered to be automatically unfair. An employee would simply need to show that their dismissal was for one of the ‘automatically unfair’ reasons, and their claim would be successful. These are:
- Trade Union membership or activities;
- Industrial action;
- Asserting a statutory right;
- Performing a statutory duty;
- Reasons relating to health and safety;
- Some TUPE-related dismissals;
- Exercising rights under the Working Time Regulations 1998;
- ‘Whistleblowing’ (making a protected disclosure);
- Spent convictions.
If you are dismissed for a reason that was not ‘automatically unfair’, you may still be able to claim if you can show that your employer did not have a ‘fair’ reason for dismissing you. The Employment Rights Act 1996 lists five main reasons that could potentially be used as ‘fair’ reasons for dismissal by an employer. They are as follows:-
Conduct – Where an employer alleges misconduct, and then dismisses an employee because of the alleged misconduct. Usually, the conduct will take place during employment, but there are some instances where conduct outside of work can lead to the employer losing trust and confidence in the employee, which could result in a dismissal;
- Capability – Where an employer dismisses an employee because the employee is unable to carry out their duties to the required standard. This can include failure to meet targets, and underperformance due to illness;
- Redundancy – An employer must satisfy the criteria set out in s.139 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (see our guide on redundancy). Redundancy can then be a valid reason for dismissal unless the employee can show that the reason they were chosen was unfair, or there was a lack of proper consultation.
- Statutory Illegality – Where the employer argues that it would be illegal to continue with the employment. For example, if a driver is disqualified from driving, and they are employed solely as a driver. To allow the employee to continue to drive would be illegal.
- Some other substantial reason – This can cover a multitude of situations. One example is where an employee causes tension and disharmony amongst fellow employees.
If an employee has been dismissed for a potentially fair reason, the Tribunal will then look at the ‘reasonableness’ of the dismissal.
S.98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that, whether or not a dismissal is fair:-
- will depend on whether, in the circumstances (including the size and administrative resources of the employer) the employer acted reasonably or unreasonably in treating the reason for dismissal as a sufficient reason
- for dismissing the employee; and
shall be determined in accordance with equality and the substantial merits of the case.
The Tribunal will look at whether the decision to dismiss an employee is reasonable in the circumstances, or whether there are other alternative sanctions available, they will also look at whether the employer uses a fair disciplinary procedure before dismissing an employee.
Remember, all claims for Unfair dismissal must be registered with ACAS, for Early Conciliation, within three months (less one day) of the date that your employment ended. If this deadline is not met, then your claim will likely be time barred.
As already mentioned, an unfair dismissal compensation claim is time-sensitive, and can be difficult to prove, it is important that you keep a record of key dates and hold onto any paperwork you may have in relation to your employment and the claim. The more evidence you have in support of your claim the better. It could mean the difference between winning or losing, but we will walk you through all the options and give you our honest view on whether you have a good chance or not.
Call us now on 0113 200 9787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get some free initial advice from a qualified solicitor and to make a claim. Alternatively, complete the short form opposite and we’ll be in touch very soon.