Here at SCHR HQ one of the most common questions we get asked is ‘can we just fire someone if they have less than 2 years’ service?’

So in this blog, let’s look at why this is such a common question, and what the answer is.

Why does 2 years matter?

So in employment legislation an employee can’t claim they were unfairly dismissed if they have less than two years service.  So if an employee has less than two years service ‘technically’ they can just be fired with no repercussion.

Not that simple

However, with all these things, it’s never that straightforward..  Whilst an employee cannot claim unfair dismissal with under two years service, they do have protection against discrimination from day 1.  Equally, they are protected against being dismissed for raising concerns about health and safety, or making a whistleblowing claim.

Don’t forget your employer brand too.  You don’t want to be known as a ‘that’ kind of business and then struggle to recruit staff.

Why does this matter?

Well if you simply say in Sir Alan style ‘You’re Fired’ you could be opening up a big can of worms.  Your employee could claim that the reason they were sacked is because of their gender, because they are gay, because they are pregnant or any other discriminatory reason! They could also claim that they are being dismissed for raising a whistleblowing concern.

If you haven’t at least followed a simple process and justified your reasons for dismissal, you could come unstuck. The last thing you want is an employment tribunal claim on your hands for discrimination!

So what’s the solution?

  1. Look at your disciplinary policy, and make sure it allows a shortened process for employees with under two years service – but ensure this is still a fair process
  2. Get a disciplinary policy if you don’t have one
  3. Follow a fair process
  4. Give the employee a valid and justifiable reason for dismissal
  5. Follow the decision up in writing
  6. Ensure the employee receives all monies owed under their contract and receives the correct notice period

So don’t be afraid to take advice if you feel out of your depth in this situation.  We have helped over 100 businesses across the South with business focused, practical solutions to their HR problems, and we’d love to help you too.