The concept of wrongful dismissal is often confused with unfair dismissal. Nonetheless, there are striking differences between the two.
Common law states that all employees, other than those on a fixed term contract, are entitled to reasonable notice of their employment termination.
The length of notice is usually clarified in the contract of employment and is also covered by the Employment Rights Act 1996 where this clause is absent.
The Act provides all employees with at least one week of notice (statutory minimum period) when they have been employed for over one a month.
The notice entitlement increases to one week for each completed year of employment, with a maximum of 12 weeks, after a minimum of two year's full and continuous employment.
Contrastingly, after one month of employment, only one week’s notice is required by an employee, irrespective of the number of year’s worked.
An employee is entitled to sue their employer for wrongful dismissal if they are dismissed without notice. As a result, a claim for damages and financial losses may also be included.
A dismissal for gross misconduct does not require advance notice by an employer, although the term ‘gross misconduct’ remains statutory unclear and we advise seeking legal representation in such circumstances.
Wrongful Dismissal at Work; UK Rules Updated 2017