If you have been dismissed in breach of your contract of employment then you will be entitled to bring a claim for wrongful dismissal. Unlike a claim for unfair dismissal, whether you have been treated fairly is not an issue: the key question is whether the terms of the contract have been breached. The employee will have a claim in damages if the employer, in dismissing them, breached the contract, thereby causing them loss.
A wrongful dismissal claim may arise out of an actual or constructive dismissal.
What type of dismissal would be classed as a Wrongful Dismissal?
Some of the most common circumstances that result in successful claim for wrongful dismissal being brought are:
- An employer failing to abide by a contractual procedure or policy, e.g. disciplinary; and
- An employer terminating a fixed term contract before the contractual expiry date; and
- An employer failing to honour a contractual notice period.
This list is not exhaustive, and a claim for wrongful dismissal can arise out of a variety of other situations.
Difference between Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal?
- The key difference between a claim for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal is that there are no pre-conditions for bringing an unfair dismissal claim (in addition to a breach of contract). However, in order to bring a claim for unfair dismissal you must have been employed for a qualifying period.Also, in a claim for wrongful dismissal the employment tribunal/court will not consider the reasonableness or fairness of the dismissal in contrast to a claim for unfair dismissal.
Where should you make a wrongful dismissal claim?
Unlike other types of employment claims, claims for wrongful dismissal can be brought in an Employment Tribunal (£25,000 or less) or the High Court/County Court (£25,000+). The reason for this is that a claim for wrongful dismissal arises out of a breach of your contract of employment, rather than the protection offered to you via employment law.
What amount can you claim for?
If you have been wrongfully dismissed then you will have a claim for damages. Any damages awarded to you will reflect the actual loss that you have suffered as a result of your employer wrongfully dismissing you.
The aim of damages is to you in the position that you would have been in if your contract had not been breached. Damages will reflect the net value of any salary or other benefits which you would have been entitled to had your contract not been breached.