Employment law is vast, covering a whole string of situations.
One popular area is the allegation of an “unfair dismissal” where an employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed by his or her employer, under section 94 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Unfair Dismissal in Employment Law
Only employees are able to bring an unfair dismissal claim and to bring such a claim the employee has to overcome certain hurdles. The most important is that the employee has been employed for at least two continuous years. However, there are automatic grounds for unfair dismissal which two years continual service would then not apply.
A claim for unfair dismissal must be brought within three months of the effective date of termination. ACAS are a body which will try to mediate between both sides following the conclusion of the employer’s in-house policy, and if after that time with ACAS nothing has been resolved then an employee can continue through to the employment tribunal by submitting an ET1. The time spent during the period with ACAS is not included into the three-month time period, and the clock will continue where it was once before the mediation with ACAS.
Remedies for Unfair Dismissal
The remedies for unfair dismissal are set out under sections 112 – 124 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The onus, however, is on the employer to show that the reason for the dismissal was reasonable and the Tribunal will look at:
1) What the reason for dismissal was,
2) Whether it was the actual reason why the decision to dismiss was taken; and,
3) Whether it was a fair reason. Potentially fair reasons are set out under section 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Should you as an employer or an employee have any employment law matters then please feel free to contact me and arrange a free consultation, I and the team can then see if we are able to help.
David has an LL.B (Hons) degree in law. He was voted one of the UK’s most influential aspiring lawyers. He is also directly involved in the protection of workers’ rights as respected Union Rep for Usdaw, and he is the Non-Executive Legal Director for the Humber Taxi Association.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is ACAS and early conciliation?
In the vast majority of cases, before you can proceed to issue a claim with the Employment Tribunal, you must contact ACAS. ACAS will then offer the opportunity to use what is known as “Early Conciliation”. This is try to help the parties come to an agreement with out the intervention of the Tribunal.
The process involves submitting a form which is known as a “Early Conciliation Notification Form” which is a very simple process by which you state brief details and the name of the employer. ACAS will then contact you to go through the information provided and explain the process.
They will then contact your employer to see if they wish to engage in conciliation. If the matter is resolved, ACAS will deal with the necessary forms for you to sign. If the matter is not resolved, ACAS will then issue a certificate which then allows you begin a claim in the Employment Tribunal.
Do I have to make a claim in a certain time frame?
In most Employment Tribunal cases, there are strict three month time limits within which you can issue proceedings. These time limits usually begin to run from the termination date of your employment (unfair dismissal), date of your resignation (constructive dismissal) or from the incident of discrimination.
If you try and issue proceedings outside of this three month time limit, your claim will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances.
Exceptions to the three month time limit include cases regarding equal pay disputes and redundancy payment disputes when claims must be issued within six months.
However whilst you are with ACAS the time limit is stopped until you receive your certificate from ACAS.
Do I have to pay a fee to start a tribunal claim?
There is no longer a requirement to pay a fee to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal or the Employment Appeals Tribunal. This was confirmed on July 26th 2017 by the Supreme Court which declared unlawful the Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013.
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