Thank you. The starting point 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. 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 a reason which makes a dismissal automatically unfair. These include:
· Discrimination due to a protected characteristic (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.)
· Taking, or trying to take, leave for family reasons including pregnancy, maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, childbirth and parental leave
In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within any of these categories, the dismissal could be automatically unfair and there could also be a potential discrimination claim.
However, if the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then you would not be able to challenge it. In that case your only protection would be if you were dismissed in breach of contract. That could happen if you were not paid your contractual notice period (unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct) or the employer had not followed a contractually binding dismissal procedure. 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.
Whilst there is a right to take time off for dependants, which covers family emergencies, what happened to you will not qualify. You would have had to have been required in an emergency to take care of a dependant, for example if your daughter had injured herself and you had to look after her, or she had her child care suddenly cancelled and there was no one else to look after her. Unless you can show that this is why you needed time off and that this was the reason for dismissal, you will not be able to challenge the termination, simply because you do not have the required service with them.
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