If I have been unfairly dismissed, what could I achieve by going to an employment tribunal?

If an employment tribunal decides that your claim for unfair dismissal is well-founded, there are three possible remedies:

  • reinstatement to your old job;
  • re-engagement (that is, re-employment in a job comparable to the one from which you were dismissed); or
  • financial compensation (capped).

Financial compensation for a claim for unfair dismissal is generally not high, especially when you take into account the risks and costs (financial as well as emotional) of bringing a claim. The median tribunal award in 2016–2017 for unfair dismissal was just £7,521.

A tribunal will only recommend reinstatement or re-engagement if you want them to do so, but even then it is hardly ever ordered. It is more common for the tribunal to order the employer to pay compensation instead.

Even though tribunals do not order reinstatement very often, it is still worthwhile asking for this remedy if it is the outcome that you want. If the tribunal orders reinstatement and the employer fails to comply, the tribunal can order further compensation to be paid.