Q: Can I claim compensation for unfair dismissal?
A: If you’ve been unable to solve a problem between you and your employer, you can normally make a claim to an employment tribunal.
Q: Do I need to have worked for my employer for a minimum period of time?
A: You must have worked for your employer for a minimum period before you qualify for the right to claim unfair dismissal at a tribunal. If you’re classed as an employee you must have worked for your employer for at least 2 years. For certain types of dismissal eg discrimination you do not need to have worked for your employer for a minimum period.
Q: How long after my dismissal do I have to make the claim?
A: There are very strict time limits which you must bear in mind. In unfair dismissal claims you must make the claim to a tribunal within 3 months of being dismissed.
Q: What sort of compensation can I claim?
A: If you are successful in your claim you will receive a basic award which is a set figure calculated on the basis of your length of service and weekly salary. You might also be awarded loss of earnings up to the date of the settlement or the tribunal hearing. For an unfair dismissal claim where there is no discrimination the maximum you will be awarded is 12 months’ salary or approximately £74,000 whichever is the lower.
Q: Can I claim for hurt feelings and distress or psychological damage:
A: If there is no discrimination claim then no you cannot claim for this. If you have suffered discrimination a claim for injury to feelings can also be made.
Q: Is there a fee to pay?
A: Tribunal fees were recently introduced and in dismissal cases you will have to pay £250 to start your claim and a further £950 if the case goes to a full tribunal hearing. You may be entitled to a fee remission if you are on a very low wage or on benefits.
Before you make a claim
You must notify the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) of your intention to make a claim to the tribunal.
You will be offered the chance to try and settle the dispute without going to court by using Acas’s free ‘Early Conciliation’ service.
You will get a certificate from Acas if conciliation doesn’t work – use this when you make a claim to the tribunal.
The deadline for making a claim to the tribunal is extended by the amount of time you spend in conciliation. For example, if you spend 2 weeks in conciliation, the deadline is 2 weeks later. You’ll always get at least one month to make a claim.