Wrongful Dismissal

Wrongful dismissal occurs when your employer dismisses you in breach of the terms of your contract. The most common instances of wrongful dismissal is where the employer dismisses you without giving you the notice agreed on your contract, or dismisses you without carrying out the proper procedure set out in the contract.

You are entitled to periods of notice depending on your length of service and the written statement must include a note of your contractual entitlement. After one month’s service you are entitled to one week’s notice and thereafter at the rate of one week for each year of service, up to a maximum of twelve weeks. Of course, your contract may provide for longer periods than this, but if nothing is said, you are entitled to a reasonable amount of notice, which may exceed the statutory minimum.

If you do not get your contractual or statutory notice, you can bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal or sue for breach of contract in the County Court.

If your employer has failed to follow a contractual disciplinary procedure you will also be entitled to claim compensation. This will normally be for the time it would have taken for your employer to go through all the stages of the contractual procedure. However, you may also be compensated for the fact that, if your employer had followed the proper procedure he may have decided not to dismiss you.

You lose your right to notice if you are dismissed for gross misconduct. This term has not been defined by statute, however employers often give examples of gross misconduct either in the contract itself or in the staff handbook.

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