What compensation might I get from my employer if I have been unfairly dismissed?

The amount you might be awarded will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. In most successful unfair dismissal claims, any financial award is made up of a basic award and a compensatory award. Where discrimination is proven, an award for injury to feelings may also be made.

The basic award is designed to compensate for your the loss of job security and is almost identical to statutory redundancy payments.

The compensatory award for unfair dismissal has a statutory limit (other than in discrimination cases) which is reviewed every year. In 2016, it was set at £78,962 or 12 months’ wages, whichever is the lower.

Despite the occasional press report of big sums won in a few employment cases, the typical award is well below the theoretical maximum. The median tribunal award in 2014–2015 for unfair dismissal was only £6,955.

The aim of the compensatory award is to try to make good your financial loss and will take into account, for example, the following:

  • any immediate loss of earnings (i.e. losses to date);
  • future loss of earnings (e.g. anticipated loss until you find a new job);
  • loss of statutory employment protection rights (a set sum of around £300 to acknowledge the fact that you will have to start accruing length-of-service-related benefits from scratch); and
  • loss of pension rights.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.