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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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My daughter in in her second year of a city and guilds level

Customer Question

My daughter in in her second year of a city and guilds level 2 hairdressing course and works as an apprentice full time at a local salon. She has just turned 18 y. She has been at the salon for approximately 6 months, her previous employer was set to close so she moved before losing her job. She has been part of a small and very happy team until 5 weeks ago when the boss sacked, with immediate effect, the senior stylist. This was during an argument over data protection where they declined to provide personal client information for a new salon database. Since that time the attitude of the boss has changed and he has been very tense and short tempered. Another stylist left of their own accord citing problems with the boss 3 weeks ago. There only remained two junior staff members from that point inc my daughter. Up to a few weeks ago the boss had made it obvious to me and others what a wonderful employee my daughter was. In the weeks since the sacking the boss has claimed the remaining staff are still being unduly influenced by the sacked individual.
My daughter was taken aside and alone by the boss today and told she was not doing her job properly and has a week to improve or leave, she's has no previous warnings or conversations about her work.
It seems her continued social contact with the sacked stylist has caused this attitude in the boss.
I have discovered that she has no written contract, her college have been made aware today of today's events.
What rights if any does she have, surely to sack her would be unfair dismissal?
Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello do you believe that dismissal will be the way the employer would go?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
he has dismissed her this morning no reason given. He has given her a weeks wages.
The boss has a terrible history in the town for sacking staff but we've only just discovered that.
Thanks.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, employees with less than 2 years’ service generally do not have protection against unfair dismissal as that is one of the minimum criteria to be able to submit a claim. There are limited exceptions in terms of discrimination, for example if someone was dismissed due to their age, gender, race, religion, etc but these do not appear to be relevant here.Saying that, apprentices have enhanced protection against dismissal, more than what a normal employee would have. This protection comes under contract law, where they are employed under an apprenticeship contract (even if a written one did not exist as in this case) and promised to be taught certain skills for the duration of their apprenticeship. Termination of apprenticeship contracts can only happen in very limited circumstances and usually only for serious performance or misconduct issues. It really has to be a serious matter, for example someone being so poor at their work that they cannot be trained, or they had committed a serious enough act to justify dismissal. I do not see either of these to have happened here so it is likely that she has been dismissed in breach of contract, even if she cannot claim for unfair dismissal. She can therefore consider pursuing the employer for damages and compensation as a result of her training being cut short and being deprived of the skills and training she was promised. In addition she can claim for any notice period she was due on termination.This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you can follow to take the mater further and also the relevant case law to back up such a claim, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
She has not been given written confirmation of her dismisal or any reason other an untenable. She asked if she could work a weeks notice and this was refused by the boss. She has been paid a full weeks wages for 3/4 of a week but had no holiday pay and has lots of holiday s to take. I have just discovered she has never received a payment slip and has only been paid in cash.
If she gets another post shortly and is able to continue her apprenticeship to conclusion will compensation be awarded as she has completed her course. Compensation/ money is not the issue for me it's the boss's behaviour that is so awful.
Thanks ( can I still tip after this last question?)
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. As mentioned, apprentices have a contract for the duration of the apprenticeship and the employer is required to see that off and provide them with the training and work for the full period. The employer is expected to give them the opportunity to improve, provide extra training, apply some performance management, etc and only if there are serious ongoing issues can they eventually remove them. The following is sound advice from an employment rights site: “Employers would be advised to tread particularly carefully in the case of common law apprentices. This type of apprenticeship scheme will normally be for a fixed term, and cannot usually be terminated early except in cases of extreme misconduct. Case law suggests that the misconduct must be so serious that it is impossible to carry on teaching the apprentice and that gross misconduct (which would justify the summary dismissal of an ordinary employee) may not be sufficient to justify early termination. In addition to any statutory claims, such as unfair dismissal, the early termination of a common law apprentice carries with it the risk of a breach of contract claim, which could potentially be very valuable. The remedy for such a claim can be large, as a wrongfully dismissed common law apprentice may be entitled to enhanced contractual damages to compensate for the (possibly significant) effect on future career prospects and earning potential, in addition to lost earnings for the remainder of the fixed term (such as in the case of Dunk v George Waller & Sons [1970])” She would have a duty to try and mitigate her losses so if she finds a new position to reduce the effects of this dismissal, the potential compensation can be reduced. However, if this is not possible, despite her reasonable attempts, she can pursue them for losses covering the remainder of the term. She must also be paid any holidays she has accrued whilst working there and which were untaken at the time of termination.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I will seek support from a local employment solicitor and in the meantime ask the boss in writing to resolve the following:-
Reason for dismisal, payslips, holiday details and holiday pay and a weeks pay for the weeks notice.
I think that these seem reasonable in the circumstances.
Thanks you.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
as a starting point, yes that is what you would want from them, I think you could try and push for a reference as well if you want as that could be useful.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Very helpful, thanks again.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are most welcome, and thank you for the tip, much appreciated

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