Constructive, Wrongful, and Unfair Dismissals

Unfair dismissal
We are not currently offering Employment advice services. The following is for informational purposes only.

Cartwright King’s specialist Employment team have a broad range of experience when it comes to Dismissal, from Wrongful, unfair and constructive dismissals. If you’ve experienced unfair treated at work and you have had to resign, you may have a claim for constructive dismissal. We can also assist you if you’re considering resigning, or if you wish to claim at an employment tribunal for being unfairly dismissed.

How Cartwright King can help with dismissals

Cartwright King’s professional Employment Law Solicitors will help you fight your corner to ensure you are heard and that your dismissal claims are treated fairly. It can be intimidating, which is why having the right legal advice and guidance is key to standing up for yourself. We can help with:

  • Constructive dismissal
  • Unfair dismissal
  • Wrongful dismissal

Unique Advocacy Services for Unfair Dismissal

Our unique advocacy services give you constant and consistent legal advice and guidance. Cartwright King can advise you at every stage of your case, giving you reliable, professional and effective legal guidance whenever and wherever you need us.

When you need us most, we will be there with the legal know-how and calm head to guide you through your case.

Benefit From a Free, Initial Telephone Conversation with an Unfair Dismissal Solicitor

Whether your case be a constructive, unfair or wrongful dismissal, we know that these circumstances can cause an incredible amount of stress. That’s why you can benefit from a free, 30-minute initial telephone call with a specialist Cartwright King Employment Law Solicitor to discuss your options.

We understand that you will be on a tight time schedule and you will want to get advice as soon as possible.

For immediate action, call us or email us for your free* initial discussion.

The discussion is completely informal and confidential, and is an opportunity for us to:

  • Get to know you
  • Understand your situation
  • Agree how you want to proceed

*Please be aware that this is a ‘get to know you’ call and no legal advice will be given.

Why Choose Cartwright King for Unfair Dismissals?

We listen, we understand and we care about what happens to you. Having sound, reliable legal advice ensures that you understand your rights when making a dismissal claim against your employer. Working with a specialist Cartwright King solicitor ensures that employers don’t hold all the power when you make a claim.

Our advice is backed by experience of dealing with all manner of dismissal claims. You can trust this experience to help guide you through the process as there aren’t many situations we haven’t come across before when dealing with dismissal cases.

Our Employment Team goes above and beyond to give you the support you need, for added peace of mind that your case is in good hands.

We listen, we understand and we genuinely care about protecting your interests or securing a satisfactory claim. That’s why we offer sound, honest, reliable legal advice to ensure that you’re prepared for the process.

Working with a specialist Cartwright King solicitor gives you the assurance of having access to legal counsel who will advise you at every stage of your case.

We’re committed to defending your legal rights and ensuring that you’re treated fairly throughout your case. When you need us most, we’ll be there to offer sound, sensible legal advice and sure guidance.

We’re a trusted, resourceful Legal 500 top tier law firm with specialist solicitors that are calm under pressure, giving you counsel that you can count on.

Employment Tribunal Fees

Every employment tribunal case is different which is why we can only offer an estimate of costs based on our many years of experience. We provide estimates to show the likely fees you would need to pay to Cartwright King to reach the conclusion of a full hearing at an employment tribunal. (Barristers’ or advocates’ fees to represent you in the hearing itself are extra and set out under the Disbursements section).

Employment Tribunal Fees

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Frequently asked questions.

What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is perhaps one of the most misunderstood terms in all of employment law. A constructive dismissal is where an employee resigns, and is entitled to resign without notice, because of their employer’s conduct. It is not sufficient for the employee to simply allege that they have been mistreated. The employee must clearly identify how and when the employer has breached a serious or fundamental term going to the root of the employment contract. This is known as a repudiatory breach.

Fundamental terms of the contract that an employer may breach include cuts in pay or working hours or breaches of the implied terms of trust and confidence or the duty to provide a safe working environment.

What actions justify a constructive dismissal claim?

It may be relatively straightforward for the employee to prove that the employer has breached a fundamental term of their contract when it relates to cuts in pay or hours. (But see constructive unfair dismissal below). It is much more difficult to prove constructive dismissal claims based on breaches of trust and confidence and employees must take care before deciding to resign and claim constructive dismissal on this basis. The courts have found the following breaches of contract to be sufficiently serious to entitle the employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal:

  • Reduction in pay or hours.
  • Changes in employment duties or employment status.
  • Changes in location where there is no mobility clause in the contract.
  • Excessive workload.
  • Failure to address a grievance.
  • Discrimination.
  • Inept handling of disciplinary matters.
  • Intolerable working environment.

Must the employee resign immediately to claim constructive dismissal?

The employee may resign with or without notice, what matters is that he should be entitled to terminate the contract without notice. In reality not many employees do resign with notice when intending to claim constructive dismissal because that will undermine their argument that the working conditions or behaviour of the employer is intolerable. The courts have also decided that it is not strictly necessary for the employee to resign giving the reasons for the resignation and stating that they consider themselves to be constructively dismissed. That said it is important that the employee does state clearly the reason for the resignation and that they consider themselves to be constructively dismissed. If they fail to do this it may add strength to the employer’s argument that the real reason for their resignation was not a constructive dismissal.

Employees may resign in response to a breach that the employer has already carried out (known as an actual breach) or in response to a fundamental breach that the employer intends to do in the future (an anticipatory breach). For example, the employer may tell the employee that he will need to move to a new location the following month.

It is vital that the employee clearly demonstrates their opposition to the employer’s conduct or actions and that they should not wait too long before resigning. If they continue to work the employer may argue that the employee has not accepted the breach and has affirmed the contract. In other words they have overlooked the employer’s alleged breach and have decided to carry on working under the employment contract.

Who can claim unfair dismissal?

Employees with two years less one week of continuous service are protected by the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) against being unfairly dismissed. These employees also have the right to a written statement from their employer setting out the reasons for their dismissal. Unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal are two different things, so it’s good to know the difference between the two and where you stand on both criteria.

Employees do not need any length of service to claim unfair dismissal in certain circumstances where the dismissal will be considered “automatically unfair”; for example, the dismissal is connected with discrimination, whistle blowing, trade union membership or asserting a statutory right.

Individuals cannot claim unfair dismissal if they fall into the legal category of being a “worker” rather than an employee, or if they are self-employed. Identifying an individual’s employment status can be complex and you should take specialist legal advice if you are in doubt. Certain categories of employees are also excluded from making unfair dismissal claims, such as members of the armed services or, in most cases, those working outside the UK.

What is wrongful dismissal?

Wrongful dismissal is different from unfair dismissal and it is important not to confuse the two. It is in fact possible for an employer to be found liable for one but not the other. Wrongful dismissal occurs when the employee is dismissed in breach of the express or implied terms of his employment contract. The issue of fairness is not generally taken into account. Unlike claims for unfair dismissal there is also no qualifying period for a wrongful dismissal claim.

In what situations can a wrongful dismissal occur?

Wrongful dismissal can occur in a number of situations including:

  • When the employee has been dismissed (either fairly or unfairly) but without being paid his statutory or contractual notice pay.
  • When the employee has been summarily dismissed for gross misconduct and therefore without notice pay when in fact the dismissal only merited an ordinary misconduct dismissal and so notice should have been given.
  • When the actions of the employer so severely undermine the employment relationship that the employee is entitled to resign and claim constructive dismissal.
  • When the employer dismisses the employee in breach of contractual disciplinary or dismissal procedures.

The compensation or damages an employee may claim for wrongful dismissal are limited to the notice period and/or the period of time it would have taken to complete any relevant contractual procedure. If the employer wrongfully dismisses the employee it will be liable to pay damages to put the employee in the position they would have been in had the contract been terminated in accordance with its terms. Therefore damages will reflect the net value of salary and other contractual benefits to which the employee would have been entitled had they been allowed to work out their notice.

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