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Thanks for your patience. Apprentices have extra rights in law when compared to ‘normal’ employees in a sense that they will also have protection under contractual law because the apprenticeship they are employed under would be a separate contract where tee employer is contractually promising to provide them with training for a minimum period of time. Therefore, breaking that contract would be a contractual breach and the apprentice could seek damages for breach of contract.
The circumstances when an apprenticeship contract could be terminated are quite limited and certainly not as many options exist as in the case of employees. An employer can only really terminate an apprenticeship contract in the event of gross misconduct or serious underperformance. There is no gross misc9nduct here and whilst he may be struggling with the course and need help due to his condition, that does not mean that they can just go ahead and dismiss him without having considered the situation beforehand. This would generally involve meeting with him to discuss the issues, finding ways to assist him and offer him help with managing the workload, etc. They should have asked for doctors’ reports to determine the seriousness of the issues and the prognosis for recovery. If they had gone straight for dismissal, it is unlikely this would have been fair so he may challenge it not only as a potential breach of contract but also as disability discrimination as depression can also amount to a disability in law.
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