10 things you should know about your unfair dismissal claim | Paul Doran Law

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10 things you should know about your unfair dismissal claim

Been dismissed unfairly? Here are 10 things you should know about making an unfair dismissal claim.

1. 20% of unfair dismissal cases are won because the employer was wrong to dismiss the employee. 80% are won because the employer didn’t follow correct procedure – whether or not they were right to dismiss.

A good employment law solicitor (like us, hint, hint!) will be able to tell the employment tribunal or court whether or not the correct procedures were followed in your case.

2. Write down everything that happened in the lead-up to your dismissal, including dates and details of meetings, discussions, and any disciplinary actions that were taken (such as verbal or written warnings you received). Also write down exactly what happened when your employer dismissed you. Be specific, including Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

For example: “At 10am on Monday 14 November, my supervisor Mary Jones called me to her office and told me I was fired because I was always late for work.”

Include everything you can think of, including all the names, dates and details. Let your solicitor decide whether or not it’s relevant. Preparing a thorough witness statement makes you seem more credible to the court.

3. Be aware it may take a long time for your case to be heard. That’s another reason why it’s important to write a detailed statement now, while you can remember, to use as evidence later.

To speed things up, it’s important to provide everything you are asked for as soon as possible.

4. Give your solicitor a copy of your employment contract, staff handbook, letters and notes of meetings. Include every diary entry and document that relates to the investigation or dismissal, no matter how minor you think it is.

These documents can be most useful to help you win your case.

5. If your co-workers are willing to give evidence in your case, ask them to write a witness statement early, in case they get ‘scared off’ later by your employer.

6. Unfair dismissal awards are based on loss of income, so you must prove you are trying to get a new job to minimise your loss. If you don’t, you might not receive any compensation even if you do win your case. Keep a copy (including dates) of:

7. It can take five to ten hours or more for your solicitor to prepare your case, including:

What’s more, it can take a long time for your case to be heard with cases in the Tribunal lasting between one and two full days.

The less time your solicitor has to spend on your case, the lower your fee will be. So:

8. Go and watch an unfair dismissal case being heard – most are public, and it gives you a good idea about what to expect when it’s your turn.

9. Most cases don’t get as far as the employment tribunal, so decide what amount you would be willing to accept in settlement. The best time to negotiate is after your claim form (ET1) has been submitted and your schedule of loss has been sent to the other side.

It’s in the employer’s interests to reach a settlement agreement with you (known as a compromise agreement in Northern Ireland), because being represented at an employment tribunal is expensive and they will want to minimise their costs.

10. You can represent yourself, but we recommend you appoint a specialist employment law solicitor as soon as possible after you have been dismissed. This is because:

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