My friend got an unfair dismissal; what do you think?

My friend has worked in an IT field in a medium size organisation in UK for over 15 months. Recently he was given a disciplinary hearing to attend within 2 days and the outcome of this was his contract being terminated. According to him they had four allegations that he had done things wrong or not in time or took too long to complete. All of the mistakes gathered were within the last 2 months and that is because my friend believe his work load had doubled in the last few months and he was under pressure, so he had made a number of mistakes. He tried to discuss with the manager but has always been unsuccessful putting this across and decided to take everything on himself and work as much as he can. On the hearing meeting he admitted to all the things because he knows they were mistakes and errors due to high pressure and work load. So the final wording before being terminated were along the lines of “we have to terminate your contract as of now because we have no trust in you”.

Can they give you 48 hours for a disciplinary hearing meeting? Or does it have to be 1 week? Also my friend believes the main reason is not work, but he was terminated because of his personality/other issues and this was not mentioned in the allegation points. He has got a verbal warning but no written warning and he believes he should be given a first and second written warning before taking the disciplinary hearing. Can they do this? They have accused all four issues as gross misconduct.

closed as off-topic by jmoreno, mcknz, Stian Yttervik, David K, bharal Jul 9 '18 at 16:59

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  • 1
    Note to everyone who's going to vote to close this as "legal advice": the "two years before you get employment rights" thing is probably the most basic thing in UK employment law and easily falls under our exemption of "something any competent HR manager should know". – Philip Kendall Jul 8 '18 at 15:52
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    "Your friend" should had started searching for a new work a while ago. – Rui F Ribeiro Jul 8 '18 at 16:15
  • If they don't like your "friend" then they'll find perfect legal reasons to let him go. – Dan Jul 9 '18 at 17:14

No, your "friend" was not unfairly dismissed in a legal sense. Quoting from gov.uk:

Employees can only claim unfair dismissal if they’ve worked for a qualifying period - unless they’re claiming for an automatically unfair reason.

After 6 April 2012 [...] After 2 years of employment

(The automatically unfair reasons are things like race, sex etc and none of them apply here).

Therefore as your friend had worked for their employer for only 15 months, they cannot be unfairly dimissed; their employer could simply have dismissed them without given a reason at all.

  • England is an at-will state for employees' first two years??? – Philip Schiff Jul 8 '18 at 15:56
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    In the sense that an employee can be dismissed without a reason, yes. There are various protections which apply in the UK which wouldn't in a typical US "at-will" state - e.g. the notice period in the contract (or the statutory minimum if shorter) must still be honoured. – Philip Kendall Jul 8 '18 at 16:10

I think your friend should consult a lawyer.

They should also consult the worker's handbook, and the contract they signed for the work.

They must also check their style of work - not raising issues

He tried to discuss with the manager but has always been unsuccessful putting this across and decided to take everything on himself and work as much as he can

will only lead to problems. It is IT - it is ok not to know what you're doing, as long as you try to learn. This will, in the beginning of your career, involve working extra hours outside of work to learn/memorise. As long as you do this - and thus, show improvement to the people you ask - you will grow.

There are different labour laws for the different parts of the UK, and different protections afforded in each part. Please check with a lawyer - many offer a first free consultation - which will be much more efficient than outsourcing the work to internet strangers.

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    None of this answers the question: was this unfair dismissal? The answer to that is a blatant "no" (because the qualifying period has not been served), so there is no point consulting a lawyer. The primary legislation here applies equally in all parts of the UK. – Philip Kendall Jul 9 '18 at 17:09
  • @PhilipKendall ? I'm not a lawyer, but the UK offers protections to staff. Screaming that something isn't protected is wrong. A cursory glance at wikipedia has "all employees are entitled to reasonable notice before dismissal after a qualifying period of a month". This implies that there are further laws and regulations. You might be interested to read citizensadvice.org.uk/work/leaving-a-job/dismissal/… The word "usually" makes a surprise appearance, and there are categories - for example, for racism - that are always unfair. – bharal Jul 10 '18 at 10:53
  • Race is mentioned in the main body of my answer, and notice period in a comment. Yes, there are details here but the main point that you can't be unfairly dismissed (apart from the always unfair reasons which are linked from the gov.uk page in my answer) until two years of service still stands. – Philip Kendall Jul 10 '18 at 10:58
  • @PhilipKendall i'm not even sure why you're talking about unfair dismissal - it is not what the OP has asked in the body of the question. OP needs to - well, OP's friend - consult a lawyer. This whole question should be moved to law.se, there is more here than "is it unfair dismissal" – bharal Jul 10 '18 at 11:03
  • You mean other than "My friend got an unfair dismissal; what do you think?" as the very first line in the body of the question? – Philip Kendall Jul 10 '18 at 11:04

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