Wrongful dismissal is a claim for a breach of the employment contract. It is not the same as unfair dismissal and only looks at the employment contract to see if the employer has breached it. The most common breach is where the employer dismissed the employee without notice or with less than the minimum notice period either by statute or what was stated in the contract. Advance notice of termination is required, as specified in the contract of employment, but cannot be less than one week for each year of service, with a minimum of one week and a maximum of 12 weeks. This is known as the statutory minimum notice period. For more information, read Notice periods.
In order to bring a wrongful dismissal claim, the employee must establish that they were dismissed in breach of the employment contract or with less than the statutory minimum notice period (ie summary dismissal) and that they suffered a loss as a result (ie the loss of wages sustained). The employer can justify summarily dismissing the employee if the employee commits gross misconduct or a serious breach of the contract (eg theft, violence or dishonesty). See our guide on Summary dismissal and gross misconduct for more information. However failure to follow a contractual disciplinary procedure can amount to a wrongful dismissal.