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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50139
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have been employed 20 months and have just

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I have been employed for approximately 20 months and have just been dismissed for I assume is capability reasons. I have today lodged an appeal letter as the company failed to follow their own procedures as per the company handbook. I have had no formal or informal properly constituted meetings. I have, no verbal or written warnings, seen no evidence, had no notice of any meetings, historical events not considered, the action taken was not consistent or fair. In total only 6 days passed from the first contact to my being aware I was going to be dismissed. In addition the dismissal letter was not factually correct.
I first became aware I was going to be dismissed when I found an e-mail on an office printer from the person who dismissed me to a company director which stated that he will be "gone by tomorrow". Although I have appealed I am worried because I have read that as I have been employed for less than 2 years I basically have no rights even though things have not been have not been done in a fair manner. I am at a total loss as to what I can do after my appeal is rejected, assuming it happens, which is I am sure will be the outcome. In a nutshell is there anything I have the right to do or am I just stuck because of the 2 year rule. Thank you.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Was the handbook you refer to part of your contract?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes although I have not signed anything to say that I had received it

And when you say capability what specifically has the employer used?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This is difficult to answer. My dismissal letter contains the phrase "number of performance issues" and a list of 3 specific points. I had assumed from that they are saying that I am not capable of performing my assigned role. I should add that I started the role in April this year and received approximately 1.5 hours training which did not include all of what was is/was being asked of me.

As you have correctly identified, 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. It could also be a wrongful dismissal if the employer has not followed a set contractual procedure to conduct the dismissal. So for example if you have a contractual capability policy which they must have followed before they dismiss you could argue that the dismissal is wrongful if this was not followed. However, it would not overturn the dismissal or allow you to challenge its fairness. All that it would enable you to do is claim for pay for the extra time you would have been employed had they followed it, so that would only be a week or two perhaps, depending on how long it would have taken them to go through it. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** more or less confirms what I thought ie that they can more or less dismiss someone as and when they see fit if you have been employed for under 2 years no matter how fair or not their reasons are. Is there anything I can do with regards ***** ***** about my dismissal via an email, found on a general use printer, before I had been informed I was going to be dismissed as this will be part of my case in my appeal letter.

I'm afraid that does not change your legal position in any way. Not an ideal way to find out, I agree, but the employer has not broken the law really by doing so and it is a minor appeal point, but of course you can mention it if you want to
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