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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48791
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been dismissed during my probation for allegedly

Resolved Question:

I have been dismissed during my probation period for allegedly speeding in a company vehicle, this has not been proved to me. I know that others in the business also speed. I have asked for evidence of my speeding and records of the other drivers to compare but nothing has been forthcoming as yet. Do I have a claim for unfair dismissal?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long exactly have you worked there for?

Customer:

It was only 3.5 weeks. This all came about due to me being called up for jury duty. I informed my immediate superior of this he became very angry and stated that he needed me and I could not do it. The next day after my shift he called me in to a meeting and dismissed me on the grounds of speeding. no evidence was provided.

Ben Jones :

The issue is that 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 and a claim cannot be made within this initial 2 year period.. 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, if the dismissal had anything to do with you being off on jury duty then that could make the dismissal automatically unfair even if you do not have the required 2 years’ service. You would need to show some evidence that the dismissal may have been linked to it and it would then be for the employer to show that this was not the case – if they cannot then a claim for automatically unfair dismissal could proceed.

Customer:

I read on some legal site recently that it is deemed unfair to allow some employees to effectively get away with something that I was dismissed for. Is this correct?

Ben Jones :

No it is not, this has nothing to do with your rights, this could apply to employees who are protected against unfair dismissal once they have the 2 years' service, but not before that

Customer:

How would I be able to prove that the dismissal was because of the jury duty, there is no written evidence of only a mobile phone I made to my boss?

Ben Jones :

it is not for you to prove that, it is for the employer to prove that it was not and that they had other reasons to dismiss

Customer:

What is the procedure for me to follow if I wish to go down this route of unfair dismissal due to Jury Duty?

Ben Jones :

You have to go through ACAS first. This is a new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process called mandatory early conciliation. This requires you to notify ACAS and provide details of your intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between you and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal.

If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement.

The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here:

https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage

If conciliation is not possible you will be issued with a reference number and can then make your claim through the employment tribunal’s website

Customer:

Thanks very much for the advice. I think I will follow this route and see where it goes.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, hope you manage to resolve this

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