What should I do if I have been unfairly dismissed from work?
If you have been unfairly dismissed by your employer, you need to take action now. Whilst I understand it can take some time for you and your family to come to terms with the shock of what has happened, unfortunately, time limits for appeals, ACAS Early Conciliation and Employment Tribunal unfair dismissal claims are unforgiving and come around quickly.
The detail of your unfair dismissal and the background to any Employment Tribunal claim will depend upon your personal circumstances. However, most unfair dismissal claims will follow a process with potential consequences if that process and time limits are not followed. I briefly set out below the usual course of an unfair dismissal claim at the Employment Tribunal:-
1 – Appeal against the dismissal to your Employer
You should receive written notification from your employer explaining the reasons for your dismissal. That notification should also explain how you can appeal and your time limit to do so.
Ideally, you will be able to send your grounds of appeal clearly setting out why you believe your dismissal was unfair within the time limits prescribed by your employer. If you don’t feel able to send your full appeal immediately, it should be sufficient for you to write to your employer simply stating that you want to appeal and then indicate when you will be able to send further information.
Even if you miss the appeal deadline set by your employer, you should still send an appeal. They may refuse to accept it, but they must be reasonable in their decision. Also, if you do pursue an unfair dismissal claim you can show the Employment Tribunal that you attempted to use their full procedure.
If you are offered an appeal meeting, it is better if you can attend. You have the right to take a Trade Union Representative or colleague with you. Ask your employer to record the meeting to avoid any dispute over what was and was not said.
2 – ACAS Early Conciliation
If your appeal is unsuccessful, you have three months from the date of your dismissal to begin the ACAS Early Conciliation Process. If you do not start the process within the time limit, you will be prevented from starting an unfair dismissal claim at the Employment Tribunal.
ACAS Early Conciliation is a compulsory process which every potential Employment Tribunal claimant must go through. Essentially, you submit your complaint on line and an ACAS Conciliator is appointed to act as a liaison between you and your employer. The idea of early conciliation is to see if a negotiated settlement of your dispute is possible. If it is, all to the good. If it isn’t, then you will be given an ACAS Early Conciliation Certificate with a number you will need to quote for you unfair dismissal Employment Tribunal.
3 – Employment Tribunal Unfair Dismissal Claim
The deadlines for submitting your Employment Tribunal claim will depend upon the time taken in ACAS Early Conciliation. However, you will have at least a month from the date of your certificate to submit your unfair dismissal claim. Whilst a month seems like a long time, it can go very quickly and if your claim is not submitted within the deadline, it will be lost.
Let us help
If you have been unfairly dismissed and need help, call me for a free, no obligation, consultation on 01522 539501. Alternatively, for more information about Lincs Law Solicitors, including what we do and how we do it, please visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk
Sally Hubbard, Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
Lincs Law Solicitors, Lincoln