The most common reason for an employee to file a claim is when they have been terminated and they believe it was an unfair termination.
At this stage, the employer will be notified and they can be certain that the claim has at least some merit. This is because an unfair dismissal lawyer generally gets paid after the claim has been won.
You should note that there are various situations where the claim is automatically considered to be unfair. These include:
- Dismissal after whistleblowing
- Termination during pregnancy or while on maternity leave
- Finishing a contract after a request for paternity leave or a similar family allowance.
- Redundancy but the same position is then advertised
- Ending employment without following the proper protocol
Equally, there are some reasons for dismissal that are automatically seen as fair but you still need to follow the relevant procedure.
- Breach of company procedure
- Conduct that purposefully damages the reputation or facilities of the employer
- Poor attitude to work and other employees
- Being drunk at work
- Fighting at work
It cannot be stressed enough that even if the employee has done one of the above, the correct procedure must be followed or it will still classify as unfair dismissal.
Claims That Aren’t Justified
It is possible for an employee to file their own claim without a lawyer. Equally, they can pay a lawyer or they may have lied to the lawyer about the details to get the claim submitted. This will instantly be damaging to the reputation of the company and it can tie up resources for an extended period of time.
Every employee has a right to defend their rights. That means any employee can lodge a complaint and it must go through the court process. It is possible to settle before the court hearing by coming to a mutual agreement. This can end the process faster.
But, if you feel that the employee is simply filing a claim for revenge then you’ll need to contact the Fair Work Commission.
They are in a position to assess all the facts and they will ask the employer and the employee to prepare dossiers so that they can see all the details of the case in question.
It is then up to them to decide if the claim has merit or not. The Fair Work Commission can order an ex-employee to stop their claim if they feel they are simply doing it to frustrate the employer or get revenge.
This effectively stops the process and allows you to get on with running your business. However, you should note that it can be difficult to prove the employee was acting out of revenge or knew that their case had no chance of success.
If you can’t prove this then the claim is likely to go to court and you will have to spend the time and money preparing a file to defend your business. In short, an employee could potentially take the claim right through the courts even if they know there is no chance of success.
The key, to ensuring you can prevent this from happening is in always following the correct procedure and making sure that all parties sign the relevant documents at each step of the process.
In this instance, an employee will contact a reputable unfair dismissal lawyer and discuss the merits of the claim. The lawyer will look at all the information to hand and decide if they have a reasonable case. In this instance, they will then file the unfair dismissal claim within the allotted 21 days.