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Blog Podcast The Employment Contract Unfair Dismissal

An Unfair Dismissal Cock Up That Will Inevitably Cost the Employer

A young man, worried about losing his job, contacted me this week.

unfair dismissal

He only has about 11 months service in the job and was concerned that the employer was getting ready to dismiss him before he had the necessary 12 months service for the protection of unfair dismissal legislation.

Let me explain.

In order to have the statutory protection of the Unfair Dismissals Acts an employee needs to have 12 months continuous service in the job.

This guy has been called to a “meeting” to discuss his performance. There has already been a series of these meetings with heavy hints that these probationary review meetings were leading to one inevitable conclusion~dismissal.

The employer has made it quite clear that any dismissal will be carried out just prior to 12 months service being acquired. And will have the comfort of knowing that the employee is not protected under the Unfair Dismissals Act.

There is only one (major) problem with this~when I looked at the contract of employment it provides for 6 weeks notice of termination of employment.

And most importantly it provides for 1 months notice during the probationary period.

The key point here is that a dismissal does not take place until the end of the notice period, not when notice is given.

So my contact will almost certainly have 12 months service.

And the protection of the Unfair Dismissals Acts.

The employer wouldn’t have had much difficulty here, if his contract of employment provided for, say, one week’s notice during probation. But it doesn’t.

And he inevitably will face either

  1. an unfair dismissal claim or
  2. without prejudice negotiations for a negotiated exit, if he really wants to get rid of the employee.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that little mistakes can cost big money.

And a well drafted contract of employment is worth every penny.