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What is Wrongful Dismissal in the UK?

The concept of wrongful dismissal is often confused with unfair dismissal. But, there are key differences between dismissing staff 'wrongfully' and 'unfairly'.

WRONGFUL DISMISSAL UK: The common law states that all employees are, other than those on a fixed term contract, entitled to reasonable notice of their employment termination.

As a rule, the length of notice is set out in a contract of employment.

It is also covered by the Employment Rights Act 1996 for occasions where the notice clause is absent.

The Act provides all employees with at least one week of notice once they have been employed for over one month. This is the statutory minimum period.

The notice entitlement increases to one week for each completed year of employment. It reaches a maximum of twelve (12) weeks after a minimum of two years of full and continuous employment.

Employees need to give only one (1) week of notice after one month of employment. This is irrespective of the number of years already worked.

An employee has entitlement to sue their employer for wrongful dismissal if they get dismissed without notice. As a result, they may also make a claim for damages and financial losses.

A dismissal for gross misconduct does not require any advance notice by an employer. That said, there is a lack of clarity on the term of ‘gross misconduct’. It is best to seek legal representation in such circumstances of UK statutory laws.

Note: There are situations where an employee can take an employer to an employment tribunal. They include instances where an employee feels they got dismissed unfairly, ‘wrongfully’, or ‘constructively’.

How Wrongful Dismissals Work in the United Kingdom