There is often some confusion among non-employment practitioners in the differences between wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal. Wrongful dismissal is when your employer dismisses you in breach of the terms of your contract. This is most commonly experienced when your employer dismisses you without giving the notice agreed in your contract or they dismiss without carrying out the proper procedure which has been set out in the contract (it would have to be in the contract rather than the handbook for you to claim wrongful dismissal).
With regard to a wrongful dismissal in relation to your notice period, the amount you could claim depends on whether there is a specific notice period written into your contract or if you are relying on statutory entitlements. Your statutory entitlement is that, after one month’s service you are entitled to one weeks notice and after that a weeks notice for each year of service up until a maximum of 12 weeks. So if they dismiss you for anything apart from gross misconduct (if you are dismissed for gross misconduct they do not need to supply any notice period or notice pay) and do not supply you with the correct amount of notice pay you can claim for that amount.
As an example if you were earning £400 a week and had been working there for 3 and a half years – If there was nothing in the contract which would provide a better notice period or payment in lieu of notice you could claim for £1200 (400 x 3 – 3 full years service).
It should be remembered that an employer can not within the contract give a lesser notice period than if the employee was relying on the statutory entitlement.
If you wish to make a claim for wrongful dismissal based on a failure to follow contractual disciplinary procedure you will be able to claim monies equal to what you would have earnt if they had followed the procedure correctly. In these cases you might also be able to claim compensation, when after further investigation, it was found they might not have dismissed you if they had followed the procedure correctly.
If after reading this page you feel you might have a claim for wrongful dismissal, please give us a ring on 0800 014 8727 and we will be able to discuss your situation in more detail.