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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 70436
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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A friend of mine appears to be dismissed with one month's

Customer Question

A friend of mine appears to be dismissed with one month's notice because there is no job for her. She is a Level 2 apprentice and been told there are no Level 3 jobs. She was subjected to a stressful meeting with 3 adults and not given the opportunity for any representation. She was completed intimidated and has received nothing in writing - minutes from the meeting, letter of dismissal etc.
JA: Has your friend discussed the termination with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: She has discussed it with me (HR Professional). I don't think they have followed their own procedures with regards ***** ***** probation and haven't provided her with much on the job training and support. I think they have concerns about her performance but are dismissing her by making an excuse about vacancies - they have said on several occasions that she does not need to continue onto Level 3 if she doesn't want to do so. She has less than two years' service and I think they are taking advantage of her because of her age. She is 19 and this is her first job.
JA: Does the workplace operate with employees, freelancers, consultants, contractors or with unionised employees?
Customer: Employees and agency staff
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: She was given very little notice of the meeting, did not know it was a dismissal meeting and was not accompanied.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

What do you specifically want to know about this, please? Please note I am mobile at present so may not be able to reply immediately, thanks

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Hello, I am not sure if you saw my query above: What do you specifically want to know about this, please?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 months ago.

Apprentices are legally treated as employees so they would have basic employment rights just as any other employee. In addition, they will have further rights for being an apprentice and these would depend on whether they are employed under an apprenticeship contract or an apprenticeship agreement. There are distinct differences between the two and I will explain how each one operates legally below:

1. Apprenticeship contract

This is the more traditional situation and exists if an employer has an agreement with an individual, the main purpose of which is for them to be trained by the employer. It is not necessary for any formal written contract to exist for that to be the case as long as it is clear that it was a relationship where specific training was the primary purpose of employment.

Someone employed under an apprenticeship contract would arguable have better rights that someone employed under an apprenticeship agreement. That is because in addition to a contract of employment, there would be a contract for training for the duration of the apprenticeship. In these circumstances an apprentice can only be dismissed if they were found guilty of serious misconduct or extremely poor performance, where it is deemed that they are untrainable. They cannot be made redundant, unless the business closes. If the apprenticeship is not terminated for these reasons, the apprentice could potentially seek compensation for the loss of earnings under the apprenticeship contract plus the loss of potential future earnings. The leading case on this is Dunk v George Waller & Sons.

2. Apprenticeship agreement

For such an agreement to exist it must be issued in accordance with the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 or under an approved apprenticeship framework. It must be in writing and state that it is issued under this Act or a recognised framework.

If the employment is under an apprenticeship agreement, the apprentice’s rights will not be as good as if they were employed under an apprenticeship contract. It means that there is no expectation that they would be retained for the period of training or that the employer could be acting in breach of contract if they dismiss them early. The apprentice can be dismissed subject to the usual fair dismissal rules, including being made redundant. They would be entitled to their contractual notice period and any accrued holidays but not to any further damages for the loss of opportunities or loss of training. It is also important to note that as no unfair dismissal protection applies to employees (or apprentices working under an apprenticeship agreement) in the first 2 years of service, they can be dismissed quite easily, even if there was no apparent fair reason for doing so.