Unfair Dismissal: How much compensation can you get?

Have you found yourself in a position where you were wrongfully accused of something or unfairly dismissed from your job? 

If you or a loved one needed to claim for unfair dismissal, would you know what to do? Would you know where to start?

You must arm yourself with knowledge and act quickly in order to protect your best interests and form a concrete case.

Then read on for all you need to know about claiming for unfair dismissal.


What is unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal?

The terms are used interchangeably, but there is a difference between unfair and wrongful dismissal.

Unfair dismissal is when an employee is sacked from their job without good or fair reason.

Wrongful dismissal is when an employee is discharged from their job role on reasonable grounds. However, their employer has failed to follow a satisfactory or correct procedure. 

What are fair grounds for dismissal?

Acceptable reasons for dismissal can include:

  • Poor levels of performance
  • An inability to carry out the job
  • Legal reasons the employee cannot fulfil the role (such as a driver losing their license)
  • Gross misconduct
  • Acceptable redundancy (for example, a company restructure, so the job role is no longer required)

It is important to note that the reasons for dismissal may seem reasonable and fall into one of the above categories. 

However, an employee can still dispute the fairness of the dismissal. For example, they could debate that their performance was unacceptable, or those prevailing circumstances were not considered. These extenuating situations could include illness, stress, workplace bullying or discrimination.

It is therefore vital that an employer ensures that they have fully supported their employee where possible. They also need to guarantee that their case is watertight before proceeding to dismissal.

Should I make an unfair dismissal claim?

If you feel that you were treated unjustly, then it is worth considering fighting your case. Not only could you receive the retribution you deserve, but you could also be given compensation for your job loss and any stress or upset the situation may have caused.

In some instances, you can also be reinstated in your previous role, or re-employed in an alternative similar position within the company.

You may feel discouraged by the prospect of instigating a claim. However, we always recommend that you use the services of a legal expert to ensure that you get the best possible outcome.

An employment lawyer will ensure that you

  • Your case is ethically handled with professionalism
  • You will get the justice you deserve and recognition that your employer’s actions were unacceptable
  • You are represented legally and expertly
  • You will receive the support and guidance you need for your expectations to be managed
  • Your negotiations in both the case and any compensation due will be dealt with expertly.

What can I expect from an employment tribunal?

An employment tribunal is a separate entity from that of the civil court system. An employment tribunal deals with any cases referencing occupation and the law, and this includes:

  • Unfair dismissal cases
  • Discrimination claims
  • Wrongful dismissal issues
  • Redundancy lawsuits

Ordinarily, an employment case will start at a tribunal. Nevertheless, if you appeal the outcome, it can sometimes be heard at an Employment Appeal Tribunal, then onto a Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.



If it is found that you have been unfairly dismissed, then you may be entitled to a compensation payment from your former employer.

Compensation awards are broken down into three categories and are as follows:

Basic Award

The compensation for unfair dismissal is calculated in the same way as statutory redundancy.

Your employment solicitor will be able to assess a ballpark figure for you. Alternatively, you can use the government’s online calculator to gauge how much you may be entitled to.

Basically, the calculation is based on the following specifics: 

  • Your age at the time of dismissal
  • The gross weekly pay, up to a maximum of £489
  • The complete length of service in years

The maximum that can be awarded is 30 weeks’ gross pay, subject to the threshold.

Compensatory Award

The compensatory award accounts for the fact that you have lost your employment rights and will need to accrue two years’ service in a new job to be indemnified.

The compensation payment for this element is usually around £450 to £900. This is regardless of your income or length of service.

Besides, you could be awarded a compensatory amount for loss of earnings. This will run from the time you were dismissed until the point you find gainful employment again. This takes into account your former salary and is capped at either:

  • £80,541
  • Or up to one year’s salary (whichever is less)

You can also claim net pay. This would be the pay that you took home after deductions of tax and national insurance. 

Finally, you can also claim loss of bonuses, incentives, and other relevant benefits.

Unfairly Dismissed?
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ACAS Uplift

ACAS are the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. They offer advice and guidance on workplace rules and best practice.

If the tribunal determines that your employer has failed to follow the ACAS code of practice, then they may boost your compensation award by up to 25%.

Similarly, if they feel that the employee has not followed the ACAS code of practice, then they could reduce your compensation by up to 25%. 

Reasons could include you not keeping records of your job searches if they feel that you have partly contributed to your dismissal. 

Conversely, your dismissal would have been fair aside from a procedural error by your employer.

Key Takeaway

The stresses and financial problems associated with job loss can further be exacerbated by being unfairly treated or unreasonably dismissed.

This sense of injustice is something that you can fight for if you act quickly and evidence your claim.

If you think that you have been wronged and want further advice and guidance, then act now and call one of our expert employment law solicitors.

Related article: Constructive Dismissal – The Essential Guide For 2020!

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