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2 Employment - updated version available December '16
10. Bringing a contractual claim for wrongful dismissal
If you are dismissed without your employer giving you the notice that is in your contract, and they have no good reason for dismissing you without giving notice, you will be entitled to damages (compensation).
The amount of damages will be the same as the net (after-tax) salary and fringe benefits (such as the use of a car, or pension contributions) which you would have received during your notice period.
If you don't have a written contract of employment, you will be able to claim at least the statutory minimum period of notice (the period set down in law). This depends how long you have worked for your employer, and is:
However, you may be able to argue for a longer period of notice based on what is 'reasonable' in the business or profession you work in. For example, if colleagues employed at the same grade or level would normally get three months' notice, you would have a good reason for claiming the same.
The amount of damages you can claim depends on how much notice you are entitled to. But if you are dismissed, you must try to reduce your losses by looking for (and taking) an acceptable and suitable new job.
How do I bring a claim?
If you want to make a claim for breach of contract (wrongful dismissal) at an employment tribunal, you must send an ET1 form within three months of when you were dismissed. The tribunal wil not consider your case if you do not use the correct ET1 form or you do not provide all the information the tribunal needs.
The most an employment tribunal can award is £25,000. For more about how to bring a claim at an employment tribunal, see 'How do I bring a claim?'.
If you want to claim more than £25,000, you must make a claim in the county court or high court. The time limit for bringing such a claim is six years. You should seek legal advice if you want to bring such a claim.
If, when you are dismissed or resign, your employer owes you other money (such as unpaid wages or holiday pay) then you can also claim for this in the employment tribunal.
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Ian Hunter, Head of the Employment Department, Bird & Bird, Solicitors.
The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.
Leaflet Version: January 2019
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