Thank you very much for clarifying. Your rights will be slightly different to your colleague’s due to your length of service.
The main issue in the circumstances is the fact that you have only been continuously employed at you place of work for less than 2 years. That means that your employment rights will, unfortunately, be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not have legal protection against unfair dismissal. This basically means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as the decision is not based on a reason which makes a dismissal automatically unfair. They can proceed with a dismissal even if you had done nothing wrong and also without following any specific fair procedure or proving that any of the allegations are true.
As mentioned, there are some exceptions to this, in which case the 2-year rule does not apply. These include situations where the dismissal was wholly, or partly, due to:
- 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/paternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave or leave for dependants
However, if the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions, you would not be able to challenge it due to not meeting the minimum service criteria for claiming in the Employment Tribunal. In that case your only protection would be if you were dismissed in breach of contract. That would usually happen if you were not paid any contractual notice period due to you, unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct. That is where you were guilty of something very serious which justifies immediate dismissal, without any notice pay.
So you are at risk of dismissal, which can happen very easily and legally if needed. As to your colleague, if the employer was to look at potential dismissal, they must be able to justify that this was fair in the circumstances. It will consider what the effect of such extra work would be on the employer – is it a conflict of interest in terms of competition, does it take up an unreasonable amount of time and affect the employee’s performance in their main job, etc. In general people should be able to pursue outside interests as long as it does not interfere with their main employment, in terms of effects on their business, competition, performance issues, etc