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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47366
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My son worked for an english company in sierra leone, he was

Customer Question

My son worked for an english company in sierra leone, he was dismissed by email while on leave in south africa where he lives. is this legal? he wishes to take them to a tribunal, what do you suggest please. as they are an english company the uk law would apply i believe
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

How long did he work there for?

Customer:

1year 11 months

Ben Jones :

If he has been continuously employed at his place of work for less than 2 years then his employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, he will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that his employer can dismiss him for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because he was trying to assert any of his statutory rights (e.g. requesting paternity leave, etc.). In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within these categories, then the dismissal will either be automatically unfair, or there will be a potential discrimination claim.


 


If the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then he would not be able to challenge it and his only protection would be if he was not paid his contractual notice period, because unless he was dismissed for gross misconduct, he would be entitled to receive his contractual notice period. If he did not have a written contract in place he would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. His employer would either have to allow him to work that notice period and pay him as normal, or they will have to pay him in lieu of notice.


 


If he was not paid his notice period when he was due one, that would amount to wrongful dismissal (which is different to unfair dismissal) and he could make a claim in an employment tribunal to recover the pay for the notice period that he should have been given. There is a 3-month time limit from the date of dismissal to submit the claim.


 

Customer:

he had a two year contract that would have ended end june 2014. the dismissal was for wrongdoing that he can prove was not his fault. he never had a chance to defend himself. there was no warning, verbal or written just a dismissal. they paid him up to end of february. dismissal was in november. he has not been able to go back to collect his belongings either. he was notified that they no longer held him responsible for the incident and that his name was cleared, however, they will not reinstate him. no reasons given surely this is unfair dismissal?

Ben Jones : Did the contract have a notice period for termination ?
Customer:

he was accused of something he did not do and could prove it but they did not call him for a disciplinary. he was informed a few weeks later that he had been found not guilty and that his name was now clear. his immediate boss told him to just hang on and that he was expecting him to be reinstated and even named a date as the 17th february. last night however he received an email stating that he would not be reinstated.

Customer:

i am waiting for him to phone me on the notice period.

Ben Jones :

ok let me know when you receive it, thanks

Customer:

how long can you hold on for?

Ben Jones :

I am here most of today so no rush

Customer:

thanks so much

Ben Jones :

No problem

Customer:

also he has emails during months of december to february from his current superintendant and also in january of this year that he was just waiting for the paperwork to go through. he asked my son if he wanted to return and my son replied "definitely"

Customer:

still waiting for the notice period. thanks for being so patient. another thing is that my son lives in south africa but is working for an english company. i suppose he would then fall under the uk law?he is working in sierra leone

Ben Jones :

As mentioned earlier he will not have a claim for unfair dismissal because he simply does not have the required service to claim. It does mean the employer can dismiss for any reason, apart from the limited exceptions I mentioned, and they do not have to justify their reasons as being fair or even follow a fair procedure., They can dismiss him because of a rumour, hearsay or anything else they have heard or believe and he would not be able to challenge it just because he does not qualify for unfair dismissal protection.


 


The only potential claim would be for wrongful dismissal, which is different to unfair dismissal. This is where he is dismissed in breach of contract. As he was employed for a fixed term contract, there would have been an agreement that he would be employed for that specific term. Unless the employment contract had a clause allowing for early termination, for example by giving him specific notice, the early termination could amount to wrongful dismissal because they had terminated his contract before the expiry date without having the right to do so. Even then, if he has been guilty of gross misconduct then they could terminate the contract early, although one would expect them to have at least investigated the allegations and given him the chance to defend himself. So it all hinges on the ability to terminate the contract early and if they have followed that correctly.


 


The jurisdictional issue for working abroad is an entirely different kettle of fish which there is no need to discuss unless we find out he has a potential claim first considering the above factors.

Customer:

my son on fone

Customer:

one week during probation of 6 months and one month thereafter. a list of reasons for termination of which he is not guilty is supplied.

Ben Jones :

so have they given him a month's notice of termination?

Customer:

yes but is there any hope that he can take action against them for wrongful dismissal as he had been cleared of the accusation made? he has this in writing.

Customer:

is there any way he could approach them for at least payment until the end of his contract term

Ben Jones :

There is no wrongful dismissal here because there is no dismissal in breach of contract. They have terminated the contract lawfully by giving the required notice of termination as per the contractual clause allowing that so there is no breach of contract. The reasons behind their decision are irrelevant. Even if he had all the evidence in black and white to show he was innocent, that does not prevent them from dismissing him anyway and they can do this lawfully in the circumstances. As such he does not have any legal grounds to demand payment for the remainder of the contract duration unfortunately

Customer:

that is so very sad and unfair. thank you very much ben you have been very informative. kindest regards, bunty

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome and sorry it may not have been the news you were hoping for

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi there Ben, i accidently submitted another payment. any way i can cancel it please? already paid 60pounds

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Yes of course I will ensure a refund is issued on the second one

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