Unfair Dismissal

Unfair Dismissal is where an employee is dismissed and the reason for the dismissal is not a proper one, the latter being a reason that is justifiably based on conduct, performance, or proper redundancy processes. Dismissal based on otherwise proper reasons might nonetheless be unfair if an adequate disciplinary or performance procedure is not followed. 

The concept of dismissal includes Constructive Dismissal. The latter is where an employee is not explicitly dismissed, but the employer acts in such a way as to irrevocably sever the relationship of trust between employer and employee by, for example, allowing the employee to be bullied or harassed, making false accusations against the employee, or not paying the employee.

There is a qualifying period of two years’ employment. Claims can be submitted to the Employment Tribunal, however, before a complaint is submitted to the Tribunal, the potential claimant must register the dispute with a statutory dispute resolution body, namely the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service or “ACAS”, as it is commonly known. ACAS will contact the potential claimant’s employer to see if the dispute can be resolved without resorting to the Tribunal; sometimes this is possible, but often it is not. 

The time-limit for making an Employment Tribunal claim is usually three months from the date of termination of employment. Successful claimants are usually entitled to: (1) a basic compensation award based on age and length of employment; and (2) further compensation to reflect other losses.

At the Tribunal hearing, both parties will present evidence to support their case. Evidence includes Documentary Evidence and Witness Evidence. Each party’s employment law barristers will carry out Examination-in-chief of their own witnesses, and Cross-examination of the opposing party’s witnesses. At the end of the Tribunal hearing, the barristers will make Legal Submissions to the judge. The judge will then decide whether the claim should succeed. Unsuccessful parties can appeal against the Employment Tribunal judge’s decision to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (often known as the “EAT”) on a point of law only.

Demstone Chambers’ employment law barristers can help with any employment dispute, including: providing advice, drafting documents, preparing bundles of documents for hearings in the Employment Tribunal, and appearing in the Tribunal.


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Whistleblowing claims: an overview

Whistleblowing is the common term for what, in technical legal terms, employment lawyers would define as a worker being subjected to a “detriment” because they have made a “protected disclosure.” Under section 43A of the Employment Rights Act 1996, such claims broadly comprise four elements: