Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. You mentioned she is considering pursuing an unfair dismissal claim - on what grounds would that be taking into consideration she is not actually provided with unfair dismissal protection?
So I'm not fully versed on the protection to which she is entitled. Her contract mentions a 6 month contract, "probationary period". She had been alerted to the fact management would seek to fabricate reasons not to pass the probationary period but of course that is speculation.
She attended the hearing today but it was aborted due to "smelling alcohol on her breath". This was a fabrication. She immediately took a test from a local pharmacy and passed and volunteered to retake in front of her employer but was declined as the matter was closed. Surely there must be some protection against this salacious and damaging practice?
If she has been continuously employed at her place of work for less than 2 years then her employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, she will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that her employer can dismiss her 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 she was trying to assert any of her statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity leave, etc.).
If the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then she would not be able to challenge it and her only protection would be if she was not paid her contractual notice period, because unless she was dismissed for gross misconduct, she would be entitled to receive her contractual notice period. If she did not have a written contract in place she would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. Her employer would either have to allow her to work that notice period and pay her as normal, or they will have to pay her in lieu of notice.
If she was not paid her notice period when she was due one, that would amount to wrongful dismissal (which is different to unfair dismissal) and she could make a claim in an employment tribunal to recover the pay for the notice period that she should have been given. There is a 3-month time limit from the date of dismissal to submit the claim.
So I am afraid that I do not see anything which can give her the right to claim for unfair dismissal in the circumstances. The employer can safely dismiss simply by giving her the required period of notice. They do not have to follow a fair procedure, the issues with the short notice cannot be legally challenged and neither can the reasons for the dismissal. What they said at the meeting is morally wrong, assuming they had no valid reasons to say that, but as long as it was not something they started spreading as a rumour then it ia also not something she can challenge
I think I have confused the terms and it seems she is being engineered toward a summary dismissal with less than 2 weeks remaining of her contract. At this point she is resigned to the fact that her employment there has reached an end, but the concern is that the employer will now refuse to give a reference on the basis they can claim a complaint was made and upheld against her. The way this circumstance has been engineered is distasteful in the extreme, but is there no way to protect against the damage to her reputation?
I understand about unfair and wrongful dismissal now - thank you; I had confused my terminology.
The issue is that the employer is not legally obliged to provide a reference anyway so if they did not want to issue one they are not in any way obliged to
Ok - thanks for your help - I see that they are free to repeat the same behaviour with the next victim, as we were warned by the previous one, and the one before that. It's a shame that honest worker's reputations are being sullied in this way and there is no protection whatsoever; this feels positively Dickensian. But thanks for providing the information.Merry Xmas