Short-service employee contract termination process

Kevin Bennett

August 09 2019

Termination. It’s not a nice word to read.

It’s not a great word to hear either. And for you, the employer, it’s never an easy subject to deal with.

While many employers think there is little risk in dismissing employees with less than one year’s service, you should always follow a proper process regardless of length of service.

For example, terminating the contract of a short-service employee isn’t as easy as tearing it in half. The process needs to be fair. In other words, fair dismissal needs a fair procedure.

If you breach your employee’s statutory rights, you could find yourself facing a claim for automatic unfair dismissal ─ no matter how long they have worked for you.

If you’re found to be in the wrong, unfair dismissal compensation can be as much as £16,410. And that doesn’t include compensatory awards which can bring the figure up.

You are entitled to dismiss an employee with less than one year’s service for one incident of misconduct provided that your employee handbook and disciplinary invite includes the following:

  • Employee Handbook: This should contain a policy highlighting that length of service could impact the disciplinary process.
  • Disciplinary Hearing invite: This should reiterate the handbook in the policy. It should tell the employee what the worst-case scenario for employment could be i.e. termination.

When you know you’ve gone as far as you can with the employee in question, set the termination process in motion. Present the employee with an invite letter 24 hours in advance of the review meeting to make sure the employee receives their legal notice of a formal hearing.

Allowing the employee to bring a colleague to the hearing will also help you show that you have acted reasonably in carrying out the dismissal. 

And remember. Probationary reviews must take place within the probationary period specified in either the contract of employment or the employee handbook.

If no probationary period is specified in writing, the dismissal will be automatically unfair. The same goes for a short service dismissal carried out outside the specified probationary period.

Need help with your termination process? Call 0800 917 0771 to speak with an employment law expert today.

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