Wrongful vs Unfair Dismissal
These are hard economic times for employees in most parts of the world with pink slips being common in the corporate world. Losing a job is a painful experience as finding a new job is hard. Termination of services always seem unfair to an employee, but there are phrases like wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal that further complicate the situation for him. The two terms look alike, but they are different, and this article attempts to highlight these differences.
If you have been doing a job for some time, it comes as a big blow when suddenly you are told that your services are no longer required and that you have been terminated. The word wrong in wrongful conveys the impression that the procedure adopted by the employer, to remove the employee is not fair or correct. There are always terms of contract that an employee has to sign before being given a job. Wrongful dismissal is termination where there has been a breach of one or more terms of this contract. However, even if there is no contract, the process is labeled wrongful if the employer breaches a rule or law as per the employment laws of the country. There can be any number of reasons behind a wrongful dismissal such as discrimination, retaliation, refusal of the employee to do something illegal, and so on.
In Britain, the term refers exclusively to situations where the employer has terminated the services of an employee breaching the terms of the contract. An employee can consider himself dismissed wrongfully if the employer fails to give him prior and proper notice before termination. If you have been dismissed in a way that is not in accordance with the terms of contract, you have been a victim of wrongful dismissal.
If you are terminated from service because of any unreasonable reason that is against the employment laws of the country, you have been dismissed in an unfair manner. In fact, employees can use unfair dismissal as a right to bring the case up in a tribunal if they believe they have been dismissed in an unfair manner or on unreasonable grounds. There can be any numbers of reasons given by an employer for dismissing an employee, and below are some of the reasons that are considered as unreasonable by the law.
• Employee asking for maternity leave
• Employee requesting more flexible working timings
• Dismissal on account of membership in a trade union
• Dismissal on grounds of race, religion, gender, or age
What is the difference between Wrongful and Unfair Dismissal?
• If the dismissal breaches terms of contract, it is termed wrongful dismissal whereas violation of statutes of employment laws is termed as unfair dismissal.
• Wrongful dismissal can be challenged in civil courts before making a plea in employment tribunal. On the other hand, cases of unfair dismissal are heard only in employment tribunal.
• Reinstatement of the employees is possible in the case of unfair dismissal, but employment tribunal never orders reinstatement of the employee in the case of wrongful dismissal.
• There are differences in compensation, in unfair and wrongful dismissals.
• There is no requirement of a service period before one can file against wrongful dismissal. On the other hand, one year of continued service is required before being able to challenge unfair dismissal.