When it comes to dismissal and termination, the latter is a far more clear-cut process. Both require you to follow the law, of course, but most people in management positions have a better understanding of legal termination than they do dismissal.
There are two types of dismissal that can allow employees of any type to take legal action. Those are wrongful and unfair dismissal, and it’s worth understanding the differences between both terms. Here’s what you need to know.
In its most basic sense, a wrongful dismissal happens when a contract is breached. One common instance is an employer dismissing an employee without the proper notice required by their contract of employment. Each and every part of that contract must be followed when letting an employee go.
There are times when employers can breach that contract, however. Gross misconduct is the most common, which includes everything from harassment to drug use and breaking out in a fist fight with another employee. Repeated failure to follow safety regulations is another example.
Making a Wrongful Dismissal Claim
There are no length of service requirements for a wrongful dismissal. If an employee’s contract was breached when they were dismissed after just one day, they can file a claim. This allows the employee to seek damages equal to the amount of pay and benefits they would have received for the duration of the contract.
There are three conditions that can cause an unfair dismissal. First, there are no sufficient circumstances for the dismissal or the employer did not act reasonable when letting the employee go. Second, the employer violated an employment law such as the ADA or Title I. Third, since these firings deal with contracts, the employer doesn’t have a legally fair reason within the contract.
Making an Unfair Dismissal Claim
Courts can choose to reinstate the employee or compensate them if the claim goes through. In most cases, however, an employee would need at least two years with company to make this claim. That doesn’t apply when employment laws were broken or discrimination takes place, though.
If a woman were dismissed simply for being pregnant, for instance, then the claim is automatically heard. The same could be said for dismissals based on race, gender, disability, and other aspects protected under federal law.
What to Do if You Were Unfairly or Wrongfully Dismissed
It might be difficult, but don’t cause a scene and don’t panic. Be the professional you are and walk out of there with your head held high. You’ll need legal aid if you were wrongly terminated, which you can find online as well as through recommendations from friends or family who have hired attorneys for the same reason.
After you speak with your attorney, they will walk you through the next steps in the process from the paperwork they will file to the actions that will be taken in court. From here, you can relax. Your attorney will let you know if they need information from you and what you’ll need to do if the case goes to court.