Can the employer dismiss an employee during the probationary period without warning?

Posted in : Seamus Says - Employment Law Discussion on 5 October 2018
Seamus McGranaghan
O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors
Issues covered:

Q: Can you get rid of an employee during probation without warning or reason or do you have objectives, support and cautions?

Scott: Okay. We'll take one last question and then we'll have to go, folks. It comes up quite a lot and it's on probation, which is the most searched for item on our website, believe it or not. Quickly, if you don't mind, Seamus—can you get rid of an employee during probation without warning or reason or do you have objectives, support and cautions?

Seamus: I know we don't have much time left in relation to this one, but I think gone are the days where you can just pull the employee and say, "Look, they're on a probationary period. They don't have their qualifying statutory period of 52 weeks. I can just dismiss the employee if I want." My advice is always that you follow the standard three-stage procedure here in terms of the disciplinary process and put the issues to the employee in writing, bring them in the meeting to discuss it, and issue them with the right of appeal.

There are far too many ways for the employee now to be able to bring claims where they don't require the statutory continuous period of employment in order to do that. We ought to be aware of the whistleblowing claims, the health and safety claims, the discrimination claims that arise and if you bring somebody in, just dismiss them, and don't give them a reason for it, you can expect that they are going to throw wild allegations against you.

So, in short, my opinion or not is you go through a process in terms of dealing with it and it protects the company. You're saving yourself a lot of hassle and a lot of money by dealing with it that way.

Further learning:

How to manage probationary periods

Probationary Periods - Best Practice

What is the minimum a company should do when dismissing someone still on probation?

Probationary Periods - Making the Most of Them [Video]


This article is correct at 05/10/2018

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Seamus McGranaghan
O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors

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