Wrongful dismissal

A wrongful dismissal occurs when an employee’s dismissal is in breach of their contract in some way. It applies only to a breach of contract not the overall fairness of a dismissal which is dealt with by the right of unfair dismissal.


The most common types of wrongful dismissal are:

  • Where the employer fails to give a proper period of notice of dismissal. The right to notice will either arise as a term of the contract or as a stautory right to notice which is treatend in the same way.
  • Failure to comply with a contractual disciplinary process.


Remedy for wrongful dismissal

Wrongful dismissal is a claim for breach of contract. If the employee suffers a financial loss from the breach compensation can be claimed up to the value of what would have been recieved if the contract had been performed without it being breached. Normally this would be the pay and value of other benefits received in the notice period or whilst a contractual procedure would have been carried out properly.


Wrongful dismissal does not give rise to a claim for damages for hurt feelings or emotional distress.



In some rare circumstances the employee might be able to seek an injunction to prevent the breach of contract. Generally courts will not grant injunctions because they cannot restore the relationship of the employer and employee although some cases have succeeded.


In Gryf-Lowczowski v Hinnchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust [2005] IRLR 100 a surgeon was granted an injunction to prevent a dismissal before contrcatual disciplinary procedures had been followed.

Need to understand a word or phrase?

Employment Law Glossary

Help us and win £10!

User survey





Zero increases by 26%

The Office for National Statistics has released new figures that show nearly 700,000 people work on zero hours contracts - up 26% from last year.  The problems caused by these contracts will require a significant change in the law.

Read More 0 Comments