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Wrongful dismissal

Wrongful dismissal

Discuss how a court will determine whether there has been a wrongful dismissal and the remedies that
the court can award for wrongful dismissal

Wrongful dismissal

Wrongful dismissal involves the termination of an employee’s contract of employment in
a manner that breaches the terms of employment contract. In the US, there is no specific law that
establishes the factors for determining whether or not there is a wrongful dismissal. Courts have,
however, established acts that constitute wrongful dismissal (Sealy & Hooley, 2009).
The courts have established that an employer does not need to be nice or even rational to
the employees. Employees can be dismissed for various reasons as long as they are not
prohibited by public policy or law. According to the ‘employment-at-will’ doctrine, an employer
is not bound to maintain a relationship with the employee and he or the employee, may end it
any time. A claim on wrongful dismissal may be based on various grounds including: breach of
contract claims, violation of freedom of speech, refusal to provide necessary work leave,
whistleblower or retaliation claims, sexual harassment, public policy violations, and
discrimination. Discrimination on grounds of age, gender, medical condition, disability, sexual
orientation, national origin, religion, and race is the most common ground for wrongful dismissal
on which many employees file their claims.
The remedies that may arise from the claim of wrongful dismissal include monetary
compensation for the wrongfully dismissed and/or reinstatement of the dismissed employee. The
remedy is intended to put the plaintiff employee back to the position in which he was prior to the
wrongful dismissal. Compensation may be in terms of damages in terms of salary and benefits
lost in the course of the wrongful dismissal. Additionally, the wrongfully dismissed employee

may be awarded punitive damages, damages for suffering and pain, attorney fees, and any other


Sealy, S. L. & Hooley, R. J. A. (2009). Commercial Law: Text, Cases and Materials. OUP.

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