How do I sue my employer?
You might be asking this question because you have heard two words that nobody ever wants to hear at work…. ”You’re fired!”
Have you been unfairly dismissed?
If you think that the reason you have been dismissed is unfair, then please contact us and we will be happy to advise you on whether we think you may have a claim for unfair dismissal.
What counts as an “unfair” dismissal?
There is no set definition as to what an “unfair” dismissal is however the law provides 5 reasons for potentially “fair” dismissals which are listed below: -
- Misconduct – this include acts of gross misconduct
- Capability – whether you are physically/mentally capable of still doing the job
- Redundancy – where your job is no longer available
- Illegality – to continue doing your job would mean doing something illegal i.e. this could mean doing something criminal. For example, continuing to work without a visa if a work visa is required
- Some other substantial reason – this is the “catch all” reason used by employers where the reason for dismissal doesn’t fall into the other categories listed above. For example, where there is no longer any mutual trust between the employer and employee and the relationship has broken down for some other “substantial” reason
How long do I have to work for my employer to be able to make this claim?
- Family leave i.e. including pregnancy/maternity/paternity/adoption
- Working part time or fixed hours
- Pay and working hours i.e. not being paid the National Minimum Wage/holiday pay
- Taking part in industrial action/taking time off to attend Trade Union activities
- Whistleblowing – there is a specific legal definition for this and legal advice should be sought if you think you have been dismissed for this reason as it covers more than just employees. An example is where you have reported a concern at work relating to certain practices of the employer such as health & safety issues and criminal activity. Contact us for more information on this.
How long do I have to make a claim once I’ve been dismissed?
3 months less one day. This is very strict. Employment Tribunals do not have the discretion to extend this time limit or to accept late claims. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you get legal advice as soon as possible.
Can I get my job back if I’ve been dismissed?
Potentially. However, the Employment Tribunal will only make an order of this type in exceptional circumstances as in practice once you have been sacked it is very difficult for the relationship between employer and employee to work again.
What compensation can I get if I win my case?
The average award in unfair dismissal cases is currently around £8,000. There is a cap on how much you can claim and that is the maximum of either 1 year (52 weeks) gross salary or £83,682. This cap increases each year usually in April. It is unlikely you will be entitled to the full amount as it will depend on the type of work you do and how difficult it will be to secure another job.
How much does it cost to pursue a claim?
At present, there are no fees to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal as there are in courts. The legal fees you are likely to incur will depend on the circumstances of your case but can be anything from between £500 - £30,000. The good news is that we can offer cases on a “no win no fee” basis if we think your case has more than 50% chance of success. Please contact us for more details and we would be happy to help.
Can I claim back my legal fees from the Employment Tribunal?
In short, the answer to this is no. Unlike courts, there is no expenses awarded by the Tribunal when one party is successful. There is provision to make a “costs order” to the Tribunal which covers the situation where one party may be acting vexatiously (i.e. bringing a claim with no reasonable prospects of success) however these are extremely rare.