What Are the Legal Remedies for Unfair Dismissal?
By Joanne Hue, Updated: 2023-09-20 (published on 2023-03-09)
Businesses have constantly flowing and shuffling human resources, meaning people are fluidly moving in and out of companies.
At times, this is voluntary by employees; but unfortunately, there are times when companies have to terminate employees for varying reasons.
Not all employees take such moves well. It can be hurtful and shocking for employees at times, leading them to file claims of unfair dismissal.
While you could be well fitting in justifying the dismissal, employment laws protect employment contracts, and employees can claim compensation in cases of unfair dismissals.
However, this is both preventable as well as resolvable.
What is unfair dismissal?
Generally, most employment laws will define a case of wrongful dismissal as one where an employee has been dismissed in breach of the agreed-upon contract by an employer.
So, if an employer has dismissed an employee by breaching some term in the contract, it will be considered a case of unfair dismissal.
What is taken into consideration while discussing an unfair dismissal claim?
While looking into a claim, the most common things taken into consideration are:
- Validity of the reasoning for the dismissal.
- Prior information and notification of the dismissal.
- A chance or opportunity for clarification and reasoning.
Note: While these are the most common considerations, other circumstances could exist.
What are the remedies for unfair termination of contract?
The most effective way to avoid a dismissal claim is to prevent it altogether.
Here are three steps you can take to avoid claims of unfair dismissal.
- Effective employment agreements: A well-drafted employment agreement is essential. The contract with an employee should be signed after the job offer and needs to be detailed and comprehensive. It should mention all responsibilities and obligations of the employee along with their rights and the terms of employment. All expectations, including details of their performance, should be clarified in the contract and employee handbook. The agreement should communicate the company policies and procedures well.
- Trained HR team: The HR team must know all external and internal HR policies and be professionals who handle dismissals carefully, using a proper dismissal procedure. A well-trained HR professional will help ensure that all contractual obligations are clear before proceeding with a dismissal.
- Legal and fair reasons for dismissals: There can be different reasons for the dismissal. However, legally, they must fall within certain criteria and reasonings for unfair dismissal. This can be misconduct, poor performance in their role, or other substantial reasons.
- Formal dismissals in writing: Always go through onboarding and dismissal processes in writing. It acts as proof of a fair dismissal process and helps to communicate in an unbiased and clear manner.
- Notify employees of contract changes: Employment contracts may evolve as the business grows. If this happens, employers must notify the employee of any change in the terms of employment.
What happens after a wrongful dismissal claim?
When an employee has filed for unfair dismissal, the employer must begin a formal and proper investigation process. A tribunal could determine if it was indeed a case of unfair dismissal.
Both employers and employees should always know their rights and all provisions of the claimant’s employment contract.
Dismissal claims also stand ungrounded in some instances or circumstances. For example, some companies have an agreed-upon contract that short-service employees cannot claim unfair dismissals.
Further, employers must show that they have considered all relevant circumstances, such as disciplinary records, performance review records, and other extenuating circumstances. It’s also important to note that if an employee believes they have not been given a fair opportunity to represent themselves or if they have unresolved questions, they should seek advice from professionals. Moreover, if you reside in or around Los Angeles, you might consider consulting with a los angeles wrongful termination lawyer to assist you in addressing any wrongful dismissal claims.
What are the remedies for unfair dismissal?
If it is an unfair dismissal, the employer must provide remedies to the employee.
There are primarily three remedies for this, reinstatement, re-employment, and compensation. At times, remedies could also involve formal apologies.
Employers can be liable to pay damages to an employee and required to reinstate them. Further, employers may even be required to pay damages and make financial compensations.
If re-employed or reinstated, this compensation amount will reflect the net value of wages and other contractual benefits the employee would have been entitled to if they were still employed.
The best course of action is to communicate to reach an agreement.
Unfair dismissal claims will always be troublesome for the employer and the employee.
They often require resources and time that could be used elsewhere. Hence, always ensure the contracts and employment agreements are sound.
A legal software platform like Zegal will help you ensure that all employment contracts are legally sound and compliant.
You may also like:
- Employers’s guide to dismissals in an employment contract
- Employers guide to dismissing employees
- What is constructive dismissal?