What is wrongful dismissal?

Wrongful Dismissal is a form of breach of employment contract claim. Unlike unfair dismissal, the employee does not have to have been employed for 2 years. Most wrongful dismissal claims are brought by senior executive employees. Common examples include :-

  • Lack of proper notice – not receiving the contractually stipulated notice period or pay in lieu. Includes individuals with fixed-term contracts terminated early without a valid reason.
  • Dismissal without a valid reason: When your contract specifies dismissal reasons and none apply.
  • Unpaid salary or bonuses: Contractually owed but not paid upon termination.

What’s the difference between wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal?

Unfair Dismissal is a statutory claim. To bring a claim you must have been working for the employer for 2 years (this does not apply with wrongful dismissal). With unfair dismissal you must demonstrate your dismissal was unfair based  either on procedural unfairness or based on substantive unfairness in dismissing you based on :-

  • Capability – dismissal due to performance issues.
  • Redundancy – if the redundancy process wasn’t conducted fairly or followed selection criteria outlined in company policies.
  • Conduct – if the dismissal was triggered by your conduct such as theft, fighting in the workplace or other serious misconduct.

Can you claim in the Employment Tribunal for wrongful dismissal?

No you can’t. You must claim in the civil courts and many wrongful dismissal claims are high value claims, made by senior executives, so they can end up in the High Court not the County court.

With wrongful dismissal financial compensation is limited to losses directly related to the breach of contract and what you would be entitled to under the contract, usually your notice pay.

It is vital to understand that, unlike with claims brought in the Employment Tribunal, you are at risk on legal costs with a wrongful dismissal claim. If your claim is unsuccessful you maty be ordered to pay part or all of the employer’s legal costs as well as your own.

It’s important to note that wrongful dismissal claims require legal expertise and can be complex. Seeking advice is crucial to assess your case’s viability and navigate the legal process effectively.