Merely being in a probation period does not mean an employee does not have legal recourse were they to be dismissed during probation.
If the terms of the Employment Contract state that the employer will follow a disciplinary (or other) procedure and the employer then fails to do this, then the employee may be able to demonstrate that conducting a full procedure would have taken time that extends the period of employment. In these circumstances, the employee would be able to claim for breach of contract damages for lost wages, covering the time it would have taken to carry out the full disciplinary (or, other – for example, redundancy) procedure. Therefore, if you were to dismiss an employee on probation for conduct reasons and without following a contractual disciplinary procedure, as the employer you would be at risk of a breach of contract claim for failing to follow your own procedure. In most cases, compensation awards tend to amount to approximately 3-4 weeks’ pay.
Although an employee on probation is unlikely to have the required length of service to be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal, such a claim could be brought if the dismissal was for an automatically unfair reason, such as; pregnancy – including all reasons relating to maternity, acting as an employee representative or whistleblowing.
If you’d like further information or to book an HR consultation please contact Karen Scott on 07762 629 448 or get in touch by clicking here.
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