Wrongful Dismissal

Wrongful dismissal in UK employment law is a critical aspect that governs the termination of employment contracts between employers and employees. It refers to a situation where an employee is dismissed in breach of their employment contract, leading to legal consequences for the employer. This article delves into the nuances of wrongful dismissal, exploring the legal framework, key principles, and remedies available to aggrieved employees.

The Employment Contract
Central to the concept of wrongful dismissal is the employment contract, which outlines the terms and conditions of the employment relationship. When an employer terminates an employee in violation of the contract, it constitutes wrongful dismissal. The terms of the contract may include notice periods, termination procedures, and grounds for dismissal. Breaching these terms can lead to legal ramifications for the employer.

Breach of Contract
A wrongful dismissal claim arises when an employer breaches the employment contract by terminating an employee without adhering to the agreed-upon terms. This breach may involve inadequate notice, failure to follow proper dismissal procedures, or termination without just cause. Employers are obligated to follow the contractual provisions and statutory requirements to ensure a fair and lawful termination.

Notice Period
One key element of wrongful dismissal is the notice period specified in the employment contract. The notice period serves as a period of warning before termination, allowing employees time to seek alternative employment. If an employer fails to provide the stipulated notice or offers insufficient notice, it constitutes a breach of contract and may lead to a wrongful dismissal claim.

Constructive Dismissal
In addition to explicit dismissals, wrongful dismissal can also arise in cases of constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns due to a fundamental breach of the employment contract by the employer. This breach may include issues such as a hostile work environment, significant changes in job responsibilities, or a failure to address harassment complaints.

Remedies for Wrongful Dismissal
Employees who believe they have been wrongfully dismissed have legal avenues to seek redress. Remedies for wrongful dismissal typically include compensation, often equivalent to the salary and benefits the employee would have received during the notice period. In some cases, reinstatement or re-engagement may be considered if the employment relationship can be restored.

Legal Procedures and Tribunals
Employees pursuing a wrongful dismissal claim can take their case to an employment tribunal. The tribunal will assess the circumstances surrounding the dismissal, the terms of the employment contract, and whether the employer adhered to statutory requirements. It provides a fair and impartial forum for resolving disputes between employers and employees related to wrongful dismissal.

Wrongful dismissal in UK employment law underscores the importance of adhering to contractual obligations and statutory requirements in terminating employment relationships. Employers must be diligent in following proper dismissal procedures, including providing adequate notice, to avoid legal consequences. Understanding the legal framework surrounding wrongful dismissal empowers both employers and employees to navigate employment relationships with fairness and compliance.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.