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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I got a job in a company and was not given a proper contract

Resolved Question:

I got a job in a company and was not given a proper contract during the 2 and a bit months I worked there, then one day I was fired on the spot (simply because the boss felt like it and fired many of us). Can I seek damages from the company?
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. When were you dismissed?
Customer: Mid January. 2014.
Customer: There was a culture of humiliation and disorganisation in the company.
Customer: I got an "offer of engagement" letter, stating I would receive my contract of engagement setting out full terms and conditions after they obtained satisfactory references, proof of qualifications (if applicable) and legibility to work in the UK.
Customer: Of course, they never did any of these things.
Customer: It says a probationary period: during first 3 months, 1 day notice, after 3 months 1 week notice.
Customer: My grievance is that I was not given a proper contract, which is surely illegal and was subject to unfair dismissal. I was also subject to humiliation via the CEO.
Ben Jones :

So you were not given any notice of dismissal?

Customer: None.
Customer: The CEO was basically a bully.
Customer: I had expected to have a career in the company, how wrong I was.
Ben Jones :

If you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you 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 you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.).


 


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


 


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


 


However, all you can claim for is the pay for the notice period, you cannot challenge the dismissal itself or seek compensation for it.

Customer: Thanks for the detailed reply, fantastic.
Customer: So to clarify, I could only seek 1 week of pay and nothing else?
Ben Jones :

Yes, by law you are entitled to the weeks notice on termination but as you cannot claim for unfair dismissal (i.e. the reasons behind the dismissal), you won't be able to claim for anything else...well, apart from holidays accrued over your time there too, you can get these paid as well if you did not take them

Customer: Ok thank you. Great work!
Ben Jones :

Many thanks, XXXXX XXXXX best

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