Dismissed Unfairly? How to Take Your Case to an Employment Tribunal

If you have just lost your job it is not unusual to feel aggrieved and that you have been treated unfairly. Like many words, ‘unfair’ has a specific meaning in employment law. Your chances of successfully taking your case to an Employment Tribunal turn on this definition. 

Before filing an Employment Tribunal claim it is always worth talking to a lawyer who specialises in employment law, who will advise on the merits of your claim and how best to proceed. 

Is Your Employment Tribunal Claim Eligible? 

In most cases you cannot claim unfair dismissal if you have been employed for less than two years. However, there may be a valid claim for wrongful dismissal or ‘automatically unfair dismissal’. This would apply if, for example, the dismissal was related to maternity or pregnancy, whistleblowing (otherwise known as making a protected disclosure) or simply because you wanted to exercise a right such as carrying out jury service. 

A wrongful dismissal is a dismissal in breach of an employee’s contract, for example dismissal without notice or notice pay.  You do not need to have worked for your employer for two years to claim wrongful dismissal. 

If someone has been unfairly dismissed because of a “protected characteristic” such as race, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation, this could be classed as discrimination and there could be claims for both unfair dismissal and discrimination.  You do not need to have worked for your employer for two years to bring a discrimination claim. 

How to File Your Claim 

Claims to an Employment Tribunal need to be filed within three months minus one day of the effective date of dismissal. 

You should attempt to reach an agreement with your employer through ACAS-backed early conciliation before filing a claim. If there is no agreement you will have a month from the end of the conciliation process to file your claim with the Employment Tribunal. 

You can submit your claim online or by downloading and printing an ET1 claim form.  

The Employment Tribunal Process 

  1. Your employer will be notified of the claim and will be given a timeframe to respond. 
  1. There may be a preliminary hearing to identify key issues and explore possible settlements. 
  1. The ‘disclosure’ process requires each party to exchange relevant information and evidence. 
  1. A full hearing will be scheduled if no agreement is reached, during which each party presents evidence and arguments. 
  1. The Employment Tribunal will issue a verbal or written decision giving the outcome and any compensation you are entitled to if you are successful. 
  1. Either party can appeal the decision within 42 days if they do not agree with the ruling. 

If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed it is important to act immediately and take professional advice. Call PowellsLaw on 01934 623 501 or email helpforyou@powellslaw.com 

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