So you have an employee on short service terms and you want to terminate their employment. But what procedures do you have to follow in this situation?

Employees require 1 year of qualifying service before they have access to the Unfair Dismissal Act, so in essence, it’s generally safe to dismiss employees with less than a year’s service once it’s been established that there are no equality factors.

If an employee is being dismissed, then the employer must ensure that they’ve followed fair procedures and follow the rules of natural justice listed below:

  • The employee must be aware of the allegation and this should always be detailed in writing
  • The employee must receive all the evidence
  • The employee must have a formal hearing at which they can challenge the evidence
  • The employee must have the right to be accompanied
  • The decision maker must be fair and impartial

Avoiding unfair dismissal claims

Following fair procedure is advantageous in order to mitigate any automatic unfair dismissal claims, especially when you consider that employees don’t need qualifying service if they were dismissed wholly or mainly because of:

  • Trade union membership
  • The exercise or proposed exercise of the right to any form of protective leave or antenatal care absence under the maternity protection legislation

When a fair procedure is followed, an employer will have evidence of dismissal reasons, and in the case of a claim, this burden of proof rests on the employer.

If a fair procedure is not followed, the employee should at least be given the right to appeal, and subsequently, in the case of an appeal, will be afforded rights as stated in the Code of Practice for Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

If you have any queries regarding short service dismissals or any related issues, please call our 24 Hour Advice Service on 01 855 50 50 and one of our experienced advisors will be happy to assist.