UK Employment Solicitors -

Employment Tribunal Solicitor Compensation Claims - UK Lawyers

An employer’s right to dismiss their employees is a limited one. The dismissal process must be fair and the employer must act reasonably in terminating the employment. Rarely will an immediate dismissal be considered justified by an Employment Tribunal (ET). In most cases, the employer is required to first provide the employee with a warning about their unacceptable behaviour. The circumstances regarding the alleged incidents and behaviour must be fully investigated by the employer. If an employer fails to take these steps before dismissing the employee, then an employment tribunal solicitor may be able to make a claim for compensation as a result of unfair dismissal. You should act promptly and immediately seek the advice of an employment tribunal solicitor. If you believe you have been the victim of an unfair dismissal, you have only three months from the date of your dismissal in which to make your application.

The burden of proving that the dismissal was justified falls on the employer. In order to defeat the claim, the employer must be able to show that the dismissal was actually based on illegality, conduct, redundancy, capability or some other substantial reason.

If you plan to take legal proceedings against your employer it is advisable to have the assistance of an experienced Employment Tribunal solicitor who can advise you of your legal entitlements involving compensation or reinstatement and payments due under the redundancy scheme or as a result of an offer of settlement. Your employer will almost certainly have professional legal representation in the form of an Employment Tribunal solicitor and may also seek representation and advice from a specialist barrister. The Employment Tribunal (ET) consists of three members including a professional judge appointed by the Lord Chancellor and two experienced lay members who preside over cases of:-

  • unfair dismissal & constructive dismissal
  • discrimination, harassment & victimisation
  • age, pregnancy, race, orientation, religious & sex bias disputes
  • employment contract disputes
  • redundancy pay disputes
  • wage disputes

Petitions to the ET to resolve employment disagreements are judged by a body of three members:-

  • professional lawyer/judge chairman
  • employers representative
  • trade union representative

Constructive Dismissal

There are cases in which the employee resigned but the ET may still consider it to have been, in essence, an unlawful dismissal. This legal concept is known as constructive dismissal which is a specific form of unfair dismissal. If an employer makes an employee’s working conditions so oppressive and offensive that the employee resigns to be free from an unbearable situation, then constructive dismissal has occurred. In these situations, the employee is not considered to have resigned of their own volition.

Actions which may constitute the basis of a constructive dismissal claim include abusive treatment, unreasonable changes in the employee’s job responsibilities, unfavourable changes in the terms of employment or job location reassignment. When these and other offensive actions are undertaken, the employer is considered to have fundamentally breached the employment contract.


The Employment Tribunal can award two categories of compensation for a successful claim of unfair dismissal. These are the basic award and the compensatory award. Both types of compensation are usually subject to a statutory cap on the amount that can be awarded. The precise amount of compensation awarded under the basic award depends on the employee’s age and their length of employment with the organisation. The amount awarded as a compensatory award compensates the employee for the financial losses they have suffered because of the dismissal.

It is sometimes possible to appeal the judgements of the ET. If the appeal involves a point of law, rather than the facts of the case, then you may be able to appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal which does have the discretion to consider new evidence if specific criteria are met.

Work Disputes

If you are involved in a dispute relating to work, with your employer or an ex-employer, in the event that settlement cannot be achieved on a voluntary basis, your case may become the subject of an application to the ET to determine the issues. To work out whether your case is eligible for a hearing, it is appropriate to consult (or request that your employment tribunal solicitor consults) the 'jurisdiction list' which can be obtained from your local tribunal office.

Case Types

The ET may hear cases involving unfair dismissal, where an employers reasons for terminating employment (including redundancy) is not backed up by evidence or constructive dismissal, where the employee has left due to breach of contract by the employer. It may hear cases involving disputes over wages, redundancy pay or an employers breach of the employment contract. If you think you have been bullied, harassed or otherwise discriminated against by an employer or colleague on the grounds of race, gender, age or disability then you may be able to claim damages. The jurisdiction list does not usually cover cases involving personal injury however if injury is linked to a discrimination claim then it can be considered by the ET however it will not hear cases involving restrictive covenants in employment contracts.

Time Limits

A claimant is usually required to lodge an application in the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal not more than three months following dismissal. The same limitation period applies to all other applications including discrimination and harassment. If more than three months have passed, a potential claimant should take legal advice on whether their application may still be considered. [Under the Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004, some time limits are automatically extended.]


To obtain a hearing in the ET you are required to apply to the office which handles claims from the area postcode where you worked. Upon submitting the application, the employer or ex-employer will have 28 days to respond after the tribunal has served them notice. The application is heard by a legally qualified chairman who presides over the proceedings and sits between two representatives being a nominee from an employers organisation and a trade union representative.

Employment Tribunal Solicitors

Our employment law solicitors represent workers in the ET throughout the United Kingdom. If you would like free legal advice with no further obligation just call the helpline, email our offices or send the contact form. An experienced employment lawyer will speak to you on the telephone and will advise there and then on the viability of your potential claim and will give an estimate of the likely award. Do yourself justice and give us a call.