Dismissal letter


What is a dismissal letter?

A dismissal letter is another name for a 'termination letter'. It is a letter sent to an employee to notify them that their employer has decided to terminate their employment contract.

When is a dismissal letter sent?

Your employer will usually send you a dismissal letter after you have been verbally notified of your dismissal. It is sent by employers as a confirmation of everything discussed in the disciplinary or dismissal meeting.

A dismissal letter should be sent to an employee as a last resort, and employers must ensure that they have fully complied with all disciplinary procedures before deciding to dismiss an employee.

If your employer hasn't followed the procedures and you receive a dismissal letter as the first notice of your dismissal, you may have an unfair dismissal claim against your employer.

What is contained in a dismissal letter?

  • The letter should give clear reasons as to why the employee is to be dismissed
  • The letter must also give the employee notice of when the employer intends to terminate the employee's contract
  • This is known as the 'the date of termination'
  • It should also note the arrangements regarding the notice period. It should note whether the employee is to continue working until the dismissal date, or whether notice will be paid in lieu
  • The dismissal letter should advise the employee of their right to appeal the decision

An employer should ensure that the letter is written clearly and without ambiguity. If the matter goes to court, any ambiguity in the letter will be interpreted by an employment tribunal in the employee's favour.

What can you do about a dismissal letter?

If you have received a dismissal letter but think you have been unfairly dismissed, you may have a claim for unfair dismissal. You should speak to an employment solicitor to see if you have a case.

What are the time limits for making a claim?

As a general rule, you must bring a claim for unfair dismissal within three months of the date of termination of your employment contract.

The employment tribunal does have power to extend this time limit in exceptional cases. Therefore, if you wish to bring a claim for unfair dismissal, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible after receiving the dismissal letter.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on dismissal letters and unfair dismissal, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist employment solicitor free of charge. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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