The employer and the employee are each able to claim remedies off the other but it is fair to observe that virtually all claims are made by employees against employers.

For an unjustified dismissal, the employee is able to claim:

• Lost wages. These are generally limited to three months loss unless there are exceptional circumstances.

• Compensation for hurt feelings

• A contribution towards legal costs.

For an unjustified disadvantage (for example an unjustified warning), the employee is able to claim:

• Compensation for hurt feelings. The compensation for a ‘disadvantage’ is generally lower than for a dismissal.

• A contribution towards legal costs.

Employers suing employees

Employers can sue employees for damages caused by their gross negligence but, in reality, this rarely happens unless the employee has acted deliberately.  In most instances the employer accepts that dismissal of the employee is a sufficient ‘remedy’.  More common are claims by employers for damages arising out of an employee’s breach of a restraint of trade, or breach of their confidentiality obligations.  Employers can sue for the value of a lost customer, or a lost order, and can sue for a contribution to their legal costs.

While the remedies available in the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court are very limited, at mediation the parties are able to agree on many other remedies, for example:

• Deeming the dismissal to be a resignation

• A verbal or written reference

• A staff or industry announcement

For Legal and Strategic Advice on Remedies Pick Up The Phone and Talk to Workplace Law

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