Unfair dismissal dispute resolution - What to do if you are unfairly dismissed & how a law firm can help

An unfair dismissal can be a difficult thing for any employee. Dismissal disputes can end up being stressful and lengthy, leading to emotional and mental strain. Employees will want the dispute to be resolved smoothly and quickly but may not have the legal knowledge to do this alone, meaning that they will most likely require legal guidance.

Here, we cover what a fair dismissal is, how you can talk to your employer about an unfair dismissal, collecting relevant documents, and how to get help and appeal against the dismissal. We will also cover some frequently asked questions regarding unfair dismissal to give you a good overview of this sensitive and challenging topic.

Click on a link to that section:

Find out what is meant by a fair dismissal.

Read our guide to what to do if you suspect you’ve been dismissed unfairly.

Find out what to expect when making an unfair dismissal claim.

Read how we can help you make an unfair dismissal claim and provide legal advice.

We answer frequently asked questions on making an unfair dismissal claim.

What is a fair dismissal?

In some cases, you may be dismissed from your job under a fair dismissal. While this can be difficult, it is not legally incorrect. These instances may include redundancy if your role is no longer necessary to the company, dismissal if you have breached your contract, if your capability changes or your conduct is poor. A further example is if you become legally incapable of fulfilling your job role (for instance, you are a van driver who loses your driving license). You may also be dismissed for any reason if you have worked for your employer for two years or less, unless the reason is “automatically unfair”, such as discrimination cases.

If your dismissal does not fall under these, there are several steps that you can take if you feel that your employer has unfairly dismissed you.

What to do if you feel you’ve been unfairly dismissed

Talk to your employer

Before making a formal complaint, it is essential to discuss the reasons for your potential wrongful dismissal with your employer. This is often the fastest and least stressful way of resolving and allows you to part on good terms.

The code of practice, which outlines the statutory requirements for dealing with employment issues, helps your employer to deal with these situations respectfully and appropriately and allows you to know your statutory rights when raising a grievance relating to dismissal.

Find any relevant letters or notes of meetings or phone conversations that may be useful

If you feel that your dismissal was unfair, you will need to find any relevant information that may come in handy. This can support your case, whether you progress through ADR or litigation. It would help if you began to gather as many notes or writing as they may come in handy.

You will need to present your employment contract and reviews or one-on-one discussions that have been written up, email threads between you and your employer, and any letters that may have been sent to you or that you may have sent.

Getting help and making a claim

If you believe that you have been unfairly dismissed, you may require legal help to reach conciliation. This can be useful because it provides you with accurate legal advice. Your legal advisor will be able to confirm whether or not you have a claim and if you could be eligible for compensation.

They will need to assess your case by looking over the documentation you present (as previously mentioned) and deciding your grounds for unfair dismissal. They will then get in touch with your previous employer and decide how to proceed and discuss the problem. This may progress to ADR or to an employment tribunal.

What to expect

The investigation

During the initial investigation, you can expect your law firm to look at all your documents and discuss why you are making a claim. Once they decide that you do indeed have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim, you will need to decide how to resolve it.

Options for resolving

Your law firm may suggest alternative dispute resolution (ADR) such as mediation. In the mediation process, you and your employer will meet with a mediator to discuss the events that have transpired. You will each state your point of view, facilitated by a non-partisan presence. The mediator will then discuss your options with you separately or together and help you reach a resolution that benefits both parties. This is not legally binding.

Team Meeting

Arbitration is a similar method, allowing you to discuss your issues with the presence of a non-partisan party. However, the arbitrator will be able to make a final decision that may not benefit both parties. This decision, once agreed, is final and may need to be legally codified.

Read our full guide to using alternative dispute resolution for employment disputes here.

Tribunals and litigation

In some circumstances, ADR can be unsuccessful, and you may need to progress to tribunal or litigation. This involves taking your case to court with legal representation. Your legal team, and your employer’s legal team, will each state their case - you will not represent yourself as you do during ADR. The judge will then make a final, legally binding decision.

Find out more about our litigation team here.

Get in touch

If you feel you have unfairly dismissed, Giambrone can advise and represent you. We can also explore options such as arbitration to help you avoid a costly court case, where possible. With a wealth of experience in employment disputes, Giambrone’s employment team is skilled in getting the best result possible for you.

Get in touch to discuss your needs and how our service can help.

Frequently asked questions

What is an unfair dismissal claim?

An unfair dismissal claim is a grievance raised by an employee who is seeking compensation for being dismissed from their role on grounds they believe to be unfair.

What are the issues in an unfair dismissal claim?

In an unfair dismissal claim, it can sometimes be challenging to gather enough evidence (on either side) to prove that a person has either been fairly or unfairly dismissed. In the case of discrimination, this can be especially difficult to prove.

What qualifies as unfair dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is valid if you have worked for your employer for more than two years in most cases. It is also often valid if you are fully capable of doing your job, your role still exists, and you have been fulfilling your duties at your workplace competently as outlined in your contract.

Do you have the grounds for unfair dismissal?

You may have grounds for unfair dismissal if you have not committed a breach of conduct, if you have been dismissed based on a protected characteristic, or if you are still fully capable of doing the job outlined in your contract. You must also have worked for your employer for more than two years unless the reason is “automatically unfair”.

Why choose mediation for wrongful dismissal?

Mediation for wrongful dismissal is a good choice because it allows you to resolve quickly and with less stress and expense than litigation.

How do you make an unfair dismissal claim, and what will happen?

You must first contact Acas to raise the unfair dismissal claim. As it progresses, you will be expected to state your employment's start and end date, clarify if and when you were dismissed, and what your employer said, with proof. You will also need to clarify whether your employer was Acas compliant when dismissing you.

How long do you have to claim for unfair dismissal?

You will have to make your claim within three months, less than one day, of your dismissal.

Can a company dismiss you without warning?

A company can only dismiss you without warning or notice in cases of gross misconduct.

Related content

Alternative dispute resolution in employment disputes