Employment Rights in Early Employment
Employees have certain rights the moment a contract of employment is formed – the moment a job offer is made & accepted. (Applicants for employment also have certain rights, including the right to fair consideration of the position being filled, and not to be discriminated against with regard to their application, and they may bring a claim against an employer even if they were never an employee.)
Some employment rights are available immediately the contract is in place, including the right not to have unreasonable deductions from wages, consultation on changes to working practices, and many others.
While the right not to be unfairly dismissed can be available from the moment an employment contract is agreed, employees often cannot pursue a complaint against an employer for an unfair dismissal unless they have been employed for at least 12 months if the employment started on or before 5 April 2012, or 24 months otherwise – for employments that commenced on or after 6 April 2012. There are exceptions, where dismissal is said to be ‘automatically’ unfair; in these cases, an employee can bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal regardless of length of service.
The phrase ‘automatically unfair dismissal‘ does not appear in employment acts, but is generally used to apply to dismissals for reasons that the law specifies will normally be unacceptable, and for which no minimum age or length of service shall be required before an employment tribunal can accept an appeal. Reasons that qualify for automatic unfair dismissal include dismissals associated with the transfer of a business (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE)), health & safety, discrimination, trade union membership or activities, as well as many others.
A fair reason for dismissal is redundancy (providing there is a genuine redundancy situation), and where this is necessary & the proper procedures followed, employees can be dismissed without compensation where the employment has been less than two years.
If you’re contemplating dismissing an employee, contact us first and we’ll ensure the dismissal is fair, and you won’t be leaving your business exposed to a claim with an employment tribunal: