What is Wrongful Dismissal?

Wrongful dismissal should not be confused with unfair dismissal. Wrongful dismissal is based on contract law, as well as statute. If an Employer dismisses an Employee, and in doing so, the Employer acts in breach of his contractual obligations or in breach of his statutory obligations to give the Employee notice, then the Employer will be liable to the Employee, for damages for wrongful dismissal. Any damages will be assessed on the basis of what the Employee would have received had the Employer not breached the contract.

In order to bring such a claim, the ex-employee must establish:-

  1. That he was dismissed in breach of contract or with less than the statutory minimum period of notice, and
  2. That he has suffered loss as a result.

One of the most common breaches of contract is where an Employee has not been given the proper notice period or is dismissed without notice. However, the Employer can, in certain circumstances, justify dismissing the Employee without notice (Summary Dismissal) if the Employee commits a serious breach of contract e.g. theft.

Failure by the Employer to follow a contractual disciplinary procedure can also amount to wrongful dismissal.

Wrongful dismissal claims can be bought in an Employment Tribunal, County Court or High Court, depending on the value of the claim. An Employee can bring a claim for both unfair and wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. However, any money received under one claim, will usually be cancelled out by the same amount received under the other claim. This stops the Employee from receiving double compensation.

Please note that this information is provided for general knowledge only and therefore specific advice should be sought for individual cases.

How can Glovers help?

Glovers Solicitors' Employment Unit provides prompt and practical advice both to Employers and Employees enabling steps to be taken to pursue objectives or protect a position as appropriate.

We continue to advise both Employers and Employees on a wide range of cases and issues relating to the following areas of UK Employment Law:-

  • matters to be contained in a contract of employment and the protections that should be incorporated within that contract
  • procedures to be followed on the termination of a contract of employment
  • direct and indirect sex and race discrimination, disability and other forms of discrimination
  • the special requirements that arise in considering redundancies
  • the additional considerations that arise when an employee is a shareholder and a director
  • the use of compromise agreements
  • the pursuit and defence of claims in the Employment Tribunal and Courts including claims for unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal and wrongful dismissal
  • the obligations that are placed on Employers when selling or purchasing a business
  • changes in UK Employment Laws