I worked at a small company during the Christmas period. My probation ended in December but the company didn't dismiss me till late January.

Was the employer allowed to do this? I know it's a bit late now but I just want to clarify because essentially I was used to do the Christmas shifts before they dismissed me saying it was the end of my probation but I was aware it was a month before that.

The reason for dismissal was haven't trained as quickly as the other "new starters" even though she picked the shifts we were to train on and I was fully competent on the sections I was put on. Also there was no complaints prior to the dismissal.

  • 1
    Did you sign a contract? Dates should be in there.
    – John
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 8:56
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    Note to people voting to close as "legal advice": this is just about the most fundamental bit of employment law in the UK, and definitely falls under "stuff that a competent HR person should know". Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 16:31
  • As John says any details would be in the contract. From what you say here it sounds like they were a little out of order, but without the detail it is impossible to be sure. Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 16:34
  • Sounds like they found a "legal loophole" to get seasonal workers but perhaps they might need you longer than that so they "extended" your probation period but when they found out you weren't needed, you were let go of with perfect reason.
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 17:36
  • @Dan This isn't a "legal loophole": if you've had less than two years of employment, you employment can be terminated for any reason or none (except the few protected reasons). Whether it was probation or not is irrelevant, no need to try and exploit a "loophole" when none is needed. Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


Probation periods are more of a convention than a legal thing in the UK and you have limited employment rights if you have worked for less than two years.

What matters is the law and if they gave you the minimum statutory notice period of one week or the period specified in your contract (whichever is greater) and you weren't let go for any protected reasons (such as race, gender, disability etc), then the answer is yes they can let you go.

It's a bit naughty of them to refer to it as the probation period ending if there was a different probation period codified in contract or policy but ultimately it makes no real difference and you wouldn't have any grounds for disputing anything on that basis.

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