If you believe that you have been unfairly dismissed from your place of work it can be a very confusing and upsetting time. It is often very hard to know what to do in this situation but there are steps that you can take in order to make a complaint against your former employer for unfair dismissal.
There are many grounds within employment law on which you can build a case for unfair dismissal, the following list names just a few of the common reasons:
- Joining a trade union
- Trying to maintain your rights as an employee
- Asking for flexible working hours
- Needing time off for jury service
- Asking for maternity/paternity/adoption leave
- Being forced to retire
If your reason for dismissal has not been listed here and you are unsure as to whether you have grounds on which to build a case, it is advisable that you contact a law firm or citizens advice for further information on employment law.
Once you are sure that you wish to go ahead with forming a complaint, the first step is to lodge an unfair dismissal appeal with your former employer. If you are part of any trade union you will be able to ask your work place representative for advice on the matter and ask them to be present in any meetings you might have with your employer, but doing this isn’t always necessary. Although in these cases it can be hard not to be angry and upset it is imperative that you calmly state the facts and remain professional throughout this time. It may often feel very awkward, especially if your place of work is a small business but it is best to try to resolve these complaints before any legal proceedings take place.
If this first step has been so far unsuccessful and you feel that it isn’t going anywhere you may want to consider mediation. Mediation is a step that is taken before any legal action and is still an informal discussion with the involved parties. In this situation a completely neutral third party is brought in to help observe and aid in discussing the dismissal dispute. If you are unable to find a suitable third party candidate, there are plenty of organisations in place to help with these kinds of disputes.
Finally, if the first two steps have failed and all communication has broken down between you and your employer it may be time to contact a solicitor to help with proceedings. In doing so you will have access to professional legal advice and the steps that can now be taken if you wish to take your former employer to court in an employment tribunal. Tribunals have the power to provide both compensation and reinstatement at your job if they find your employer to be guilty. If your employer is also guilty of more serious discriminatory dismissal your solicitor will advise you on additional claims that can be made.
As with any legal case, there is a time restriction and if you wish to file for unfair dismissal it must be done within three months from being dismissed.