Wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal are often muddled up by non-practitioners of employment law however there is a significant difference between them.
Wrongful dismissal is a breach of contract claim made by an employee if the employer fails to follow what is included within the contract. The most common occurrence of this is when the employer fails to pay the employee his or her notice pay when they resign or are dismissed (hence why it is known as wrongful dismissal). It could also be applicable if you are dismissed and the employer fails to follow the correct procedure and you claim for the weeks when the disciplinary investigation should have been carried out.
It is important to note that unlike in an unfair dismissal claim you do not need 2 years service as there is no service duration requirement for breach of contract claims.
What can you claim?
Unlike other claims such as unfair dismissal or discrimination claims, the amount you are able to claim will depend entirely on your loss through the contract. There is no compensatory element to these claims unfortunately. If your contract states you should have been paid a certain amount of notice but you have not been paid it then that is what you will be able to claim.
For example: if your contract states you are eligible for 4 weeks notice and you are dismissed (for a non gross misconduct reason) without notice then you could make a claim for 4 weeks pay.
If there is no notice clause within your contract that does not mean that you are not entitled to any notice pay. There is legislation which gives all employees statutory notice pay and the length of this depends on the length of their service. Your statutory notice is that after one month’s service you are entitled to one week’s notice and after that a week’s notice for each full year that you have served up to a maximum of 12 weeks. E.g. If you have worked there for 2 years you will have 2 weeks notice and if you have worked there for 20 years you will be entitled to 12 weeks notice.
An employer is not able to have a contractual term that gives you a lesser notice than the statutory one. So if the employer only gives you 2 weeks notice pay (but you’ve been employed for 6 years) you could make a wrongful dismissal claim for the other 4 weeks pay that you should be owed.
Non-notice based claims
If your employer has dismissed without following any sort of procedure whatsoever but you don’t have the length of service for an unfair dismissal claim you can make a claim for the money you should have been paid if you had been suspended and the procedure had been followed correctly.
For example: You have been dismissed on the spot for performance reasons but only have 1 years service so can’t claim unfair dismissal. If procedure states there should have been investigations and meetings over 2 weeks before a decision was made to dismiss you, you could make a claim for the 2 weeks pay you should have received.
If you have been dismissed from your job without notice pay or an incorrect procedure has been followed and you believe you are owed monies, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 756 6605 or 020 3923 4777 where one of our friendly team will be able to discuss your issues and advise whether your case is one that can be done on a no win no fee basis.
Tom Street qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and has over 20 years experience in employment and litigation law. He studied law at the University of Manchester before undertaking the legal practice course at the College of Law in Guildford, going on to complete his legal training at a firm in Chancery Lane, London. Once fully qualified, he moved to a niche litigation practice in the City of London.
In 2010, Tom set up his own legal practice, Tom Street & Co Solicitors and as part of this, in accordance with his strongly held objective to provide everyone with an easy pathway to justice he established the online portals Do I Have A Case? and Tribunal Claim. These websites are trading names of Tom Street & Co Solicitors.