I’ve been fired – Should I sue?

Bad luck.

There are a number of options open to you, but much depends on why your employer has chosen to end your employment.

You may of course have been fired for reasons outside of your control, e.g. redundancy.

If, however, you have been dismissed under your Company’s disciplinary procedure, then read on.

First, you need to (truthfully) decide whether you were fired because you did something wrong. If, for instance, you know you have raided the Company’s petty cash tin, it is arguable that your employer has every right to tell you to go.

Even if you are in the wrong, it may be that the Company did not follow its own  internal disciplinary procedures. Think about whether you want to challenge it on that basis. The question to ask yourself is whether, had they followed their own internal disciplinary procedure, you would still have been fired. If the answer to this question is yes, you may choose to call it a day and move on. After all, you may decide that spending money (which by now, you may not have) and time on fighting a losing battle is not worth the trouble.

Sometimes ex employees challenge a decision in the hope that they will get some cash out of it. No employer wants to be taken to an employment tribunal. That said, employers don’t want to be taken for a ride either. Think about it. If the employer coughed up every time someone got fired, we’d all be much better off! In this financial climate, employers are much more likely to fight what they consider to be vexatious claims.

If you want to sue your employer, make sure you exhaust the internal processes first and, for instance, appeal the decision to dismiss you.

If, after appealing, you still want to go ahead and sue, you will need to complete an ET1 – this is the form a claimant needs to be complete and which be registered at the employment tribunal within three months of the Termination Date (i.e. your last working day as an employee). Get some legal advice at this stage, but be warned – taking your employer to an employment tribunal is no easy ride. There are many cases of employees who have ended up financially and emotionally worse off. Think long and hard about what the potential up-side will be. Remember, it is very unlikely you will end up being paid a large compensatory sum. The maximum award at employment tribunal may well be in the region of £70,000, but the average claimant walks away with well under £10,000. Factor in your legal fees, expenses, etc, and you are left with very little.

If any of you out there are thinking of suing your employer, I’d be interested to hear your thought and experiences.

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About JustBeenFired

JustBeenFired is a blog about what to do and how to behave if you have just lost your job, with lots of tips about what to do, what you should know and how to behave. It's a difficult time and this might help to make it easier. The writer is an employment specialist with over ten years experience of, well, firing people. She can tell you what and what not to do when it is your turn to be in the firing line. Most of all, she wants you to try and be positive about what can be a very traumatic experience. DISCLAIMER
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