Wrongful dismissal is a breach of contract claim against your employer. In the event that your employer acts in breach of its contractual obligations for example if they fail to give notice in accordance with the entitlements set out in your contract of employment then your employer becomes liable to pay you damages for wrongful dismissal, which will reflect all losses you have sustained as a result of your employer’s breach.
Damages recoverable will usually be the salary and other benefits that would have been earned or accrued during the contractual notice period (for example pension, private health cover, car allowance and bonus).
In the event that an employee is dismissed a s a result of gross misconduct such as theft and the employer was justified in dismissing the employee then there will not be a claim for wrongful dismissal, as the employee will have been treated as repudiating the implied term of trust and confidence between the parties, which the employer then accepts by the summary dismissal.
When should an employee make a claim for damages?
A claim for wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal within 3 months less one day from the date of termination of his employment (by lodging claim with ACAS) and within 6 years if the claim is being made through the courts. Maximum amount to claim under wrongful dismissal in the employment tribunal is £25k. If the amount you are seeking for breach of contract is more than this, the claim would have to be brought in the courts.