Dismissals & Redundancy

Solicitors in Essex & London


When you hear the word dismissal you may automatically think that it only covers the situation where the employer terminates the employee's contract of employment, either with or without given notice.

Dismissal also includes the situation where an employee resigns (with or without notice) because of their employer’s conduct.

Our employment law solicitors in Essex and London are experts in advising upon dismissals and redundancy; if you believe that you require legal advice on unfair or wrongful dismissal or the redundancy process, our expert legal team can assist you further and advise on next steps.

Unfair Dismissal

If you have been dismissed for reasons which you feel are unfair you may have a claim for unfair dismissal. There are five potentially fair reasons to dismiss an employee:

  • Capability or Qualifications
  • Conduct
  • Redundancy
  • Statutory restriction
  • Some other substantial reason

Our team of specialist employment solicitors provide practical and no-nonsense advice, including reviewing your employer's decision to dismiss you and the reasonableness of such decision, how best to challenge the decision, the level of compensation which you could be entitled to and acting on your behalf to reach an out of court settlement or pursuing a claim in the employment tribunal.

From 6 April 2012, the qualifying period for an employee to make a claim for unfair dismissal increased from one year to two years. This applies to employees who commenced employment on or after the 6 April 2012.

In certain circumstances, a dismissal is deemed automatically unfair, such as dismissals for reasons connected to pregnancy or childbirth, health and safety activities and whistleblowing. For most automatic unfair dismissal cases, there is no qualifying period.

Redundancy

Being made redundant can be a daunting time for any employee. Redundancy situations must be handled carefully and a fair procedure should be followed by your employer to avoid unfair dismissal claims.

Our legal team in Essex and London can offer guidance and advice regardless of what stage the redundancy process is at; from initial advice if you are concerned that your role is or could be at risk of redundancy, to advice during any consultation process, advice on the procedures to which your employer should be adhering to, advice on any claims that you may have against your employer, including unfair dismissal and ultimately representation in the employment tribunal if the parties are unable to negotiate or mediate a satisfactory outcome.

Frequently employers are providing redundant employees with a settlement agreement in order to avoid potential claims being pursued against them. We can provide independent legal advice on the compromise agreement and, if requested, negotiate more favourable terms on your behalf.

The meaning of 'Redundancy'

An employee's dismissal must be "wholly or mainly attributable to" one of the following:

  • "business closure"
  • "workplace closure"
  • "reduced requirement for employees"
The Redundancy procedure

A fair redundancy procedure is likely to include the following:

  • Consideration as to whether it is possible to avoid the need for redundancies e.g. by restricting recruitment, considering alternative employment, voluntary redundancy, or restricting overtime
  • A correct pool of employees from whom the redundancies will be chosen
  • Consultation with employees over a reasonable period of time discussing ways of avoiding redundancy
  • Selection criteria must be objective rather than subjective
  • Select based on fair application and marking of the criteria
  • Any suitable alternative employment for potentially redundant employees should be considered
  • The right of appeal
Your right to be accompanied

Employees have the right to be accompanied (by a trade union representative or colleague) at any meeting which may lead to their dismissal.

Statutory Redundancy Payment (SRP)

Employees with at least two years' continuous employment are entitled to an SRP if they are dismissed by reason of redundancy. This is calculated according to age and length of service and subject to the minimum weekly pay currently set at £525.00.

Wrongful Dismissal

Wrongful dismissal does not look at the fairness of the decision but instead looks at whether the terms of the contract have been breached. An employee will have a claim for damages if the employer breached the contract and caused the employee to suffer loss. The purpose of damages is to put the employee in the position they would have been if the contract had not been breached.

A wrongful dismissal claim is commonly based on an employee been given insufficient contractual notice. A claim for wrongful dismissal may be issued in either the Employment Tribunal or Civil courts depending on the value.

Constructive Dismissal

Constructive dismissal occurs where the employer does not dismiss the employee, but the employee has no option but to resign and can show that they were entitled to do so by virtue of the employer's conduct Employees often seek to rely upon the implied term of mutual trust and confidence. A constructive dismissal may be an unfair dismissal and a wrongful dismissal.

For a constructive dismissal claim to succeed, an employee needs to show that:

  • Their employer was in repudiatory breach of the employment contract
  • They resigned in response to that breach; and
  • They did not delay too long before resigning in response to their employer's breach.

Advice should be obtained prior to considering resigning as constructive dismissal cases are complex and risky.

ACAS Early Conciliation

ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) is an independent and impartial organisation that can try to resolve the dispute between you and your employer without the need to bring proceedings in the employment tribunal. ACAS's services are free of charge.

In most cases, a tribunal claim cannot be brought unless you have first referred your case to ACAS for early conciliation.

Employment claims in the Tribunals and Courts

Our dedicated team of solicitors have extensive experience in pursuing claims at the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeals Tribunal.

We appreciate that pursuing a claim is often the last resort and usually having sought to reach a resolution before doing so. We will vigorously pursue actions on our client’s behalf and pride ourselves on providing practical and straightforward advice and guidance on each step of the process.

In our experience, it is in the interests of both parties to reach a settlement prior to any hearing.

Over the years, we have developed strong links with leading sets of barristers' chambers which enable us to provide the best possible service to you.

Time limits

There are strict time limits in which to submit a claim, although extra time will usually be allowed for ACAS Early Conciliation. It is important that a claim is submitted within the relevant deadline, as there are only very limited circumstances in which the employment tribunal will accept a claim that is submitted late and you should, therefore, seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

Funding

At the very outset, we will advise you on your options and how to meet or fund your legal fees. These options include:

  • Private client retainer
  • Legal expenses insurance

It is not uncommon for people to have legal expenses insurance either as an extension to a home contents policy or specialist legal expenses insurance. If you have insurance which might cover employment disputes, your legal expenses insurers may agree to this firm being instructed on your behalf.

  • Damages-Based Agreement
  • Conditional Fee Agreement
  • External funding
  • Third party funding
  • Trade union funding
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission (for discrimination claims)
  • Legal Aid (for discrimination claims)

We also offer advice or assistance on a discrete segments of an employment case including advice on the merits and quantum (i.e. the strengths and value of a claim), advocacy whether at the case management / preliminary hearing stage or at the final hearing, the drafting of a schedule of loss, the drafting of factual witness statements etc. It is likely that we will be able to provide a fixed fee for this work.

Costs

In the Employment Tribunal, each side will pay their own costs but in certain limited circumstances, the Tribunal may order one side to pay costs to the other (e.g. where one of the sides has brought or conducted their case unreasonably).

Appeals

Appeals to the Employment Appeal Tribunal are possible in limited circumstances (e.g. on point of law).

There are strict time limits in which to submit an appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. We are happy to advise on the merits of any such appeal.

Book A Free Telephone Consultation

Find out more with a free initial Employment Law consultation

We understand that speaking to a solicitor for the first time about issues around dismissals and redundancy can be a difficult and stressful experience. Our expert employment solicitors in Essex and London will be happy to undertake an initial interview over the telephone to provide you with some general legal advice. This will enable you to determine what the best next steps are for you to take.

Free initial telephone consultations are available at any of our offices located in Brentwood, Hornchurch or Upminster, or at our office facilities in Leigh-On-Sea and Canary Wharf, London. We understand that sometimes it is difficult to arrange calls during working hours, so we also offer early morning, late night and Saturday appointments. All offices are open until 7pm Monday-Thursday.

Our Employment Law accreditations include:

APIL
Legal 500 2019 - Leading Firm

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