Are Out of Time Applications Fatal To An Unfair Dismissal Claim?

Being dismissed is never a nice experience but sometimes companies need to let employees go to preserve the company or because the role is no longer needed. However, at all times the company must be fair to the employee and follow the process described in the contract.

If they don’t then an employee should contact a reputable unfair dismissal lawyer to deal with the matter for them.

What Classes As Unfair Dismissal?

When an employee is let go there must be a good reason for it. This generally translates into them not being capable of the job or that the job no longer exists. In these cases, the dismissal will usually be fair.

You should note that it will automatically be unfair if the dismissal is a result of any of the following:

  • A request for flexible working
  • Becoming pregnant or being on maternity leave
  • Requesting paternity leave or something similar
  • Being a trade union representative or even just a member of the trade union
  • Asking for something that the employee is legally entitled to
  • Blowing the whistle on bad practices or illegal activities
  • Being given compulsory retirement

However, that’s not the only thing that classifies as unfair dismissal.

When an employer wants to dismiss someone they must follow a set procedure. If it is because of performance or capability issues then the employee must be summoned to a meeting to discuss the issue and be allowed to explain themselves. This can end the issue or it can lead to a notice of improvement.

At the end of this, the employee will be summoned to another meeting to assess their progress. They can be given warnings but it will take two or three meetings before you can terminate the employment.

Deviating from the official guidelines and information disclosed in your company handbook will automatically make the dismissal unfair.

It should be noted that even dismissal for gross misconduct can only be done fairly if the employee can go to a meeting and have the opportunity to tell their side of the story.

At all times the employer must act fairly or the dismissal is automatically unfair.

Claiming Unfair Dismissal

If you feel that you have been dismissed unfairly then you’ll need to gather up all the evidence you have. That means dates and times of meetings, notice given for those meetings, the alleged issue, and anything else that you have that may be useful. You can then show all these things to the unfair dismissal laws and they will assess whether you have a case.

It should be noted these are lawyers who specialize in this type of case and they will have a good idea of whether you have been unfairly dismissed and the likelihood of convincing a judge.

The advantage of using an unfair dismissal lawyer isn’t just that they will assess the issue for you and give you guidance regarding what to do next. The lawyer will also handle everything for you and in many cases won’t take payment until after the case has been completed and won.

Time Limits

It is important to note that you have just 21 days to lodge your unfair dismissal claim. That means you need to see a lawyer straight away to assess whether you have a claim and then follow up.

It is possible to request an extension to this but your lawyer will need to justify why this is being requested and there is no guarantee the court will grant the extension.

Without an extension, any claim submitted after 21 days will automatically be deemed invalid and removed from the files.

In short, an out-of-time application is fatal to your claim for unfair dismissal. That’s why you need to take steps straight away to assess whether you have a claim and if you do, get your lawyer to file the relevant papers.

The 21 days start from the day after you were dismissed. This time can go quickly, especially if you are still talking to your employer or working out a notice period. That’s why you should see a lawyer straight away and your employer must allow you time off to do this. You can then register your claim in good time.

Final Thoughts

It can seem unfair that you have just 21 days to register a claim. However, most people know that they have been dismissed unfairly when it happens and they should take advice straight away. If in doubt take advice.

The reason for the time limit is to encourage parties to deal with the matter quickly. It also prevents backlogs at the courts and removes the financial uncertainty from a business. After all, no time limit means anyone could claim against a business years after they left, it would simply be too difficult to prove the facts in every case.

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