Wrongful dismissal occurs when an employer dismisses someone without giving them any, or the correct, period of notice specified in their contract of employment.

This is a dismissal in breach of contract which entitles the employee to recover damages for loss. This is calculated by taking into account the pay and value of other benefits such as pension contributions, which would have been paid during the notice period had this been given correctly.

An employee who has been wrongly dismissed may bring a claim in the employment tribunal provided the amount of damages they are seeking is not more than £25,000. For amounts over this they would need to apply to the ordinary courts. Employees have a duty to mitigate their loss by looking for alternative employment.

However, an employer is entitled to dismiss without notice where the employee has committed an act of gross misconduct and the employee would not have a claim for wrongful dismissal in those circumstances as summary dismissal would be justified. They may, subject to eligibility, still have a claim for unfair dismissal however.

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Updates: For employers: Unfair and constructive dismissal | For employees: Unfair dismissal |

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