How to Avoid the Employment Tribunal
- Deal with problem employees wherever possible within two years of employment starting. Although there are exceptions, most employees cannot bring a claim for unfair dismissal until they have two years of continuous employment.
- Remember that discrimination actions have no qualifying time period, and can be brought even before employment begins. Ensure all your staff who are involved in recruitment and interviewing are aware of this.
- Remember that giving instructions to a locum agency to discriminate, or discriminating against a locum, mean that you can be sued under anti-discrimination law.
- Ensure that your contracts are drafted in a business-like manner; we see so many employees (even if they have not been employed for two years) being able to bring claims for breach of contract, because of the careless way their contracts have been drafted. Know what your contracts and handbooks say before things go wrong!
- Understand that probationary periods and fixed term contacts may be useful management tools, but they do not really offer an employer any legal protection.
- Remember that there are many categories of automatic unfair dismissal. You will have no defence if you dismiss an employee for one of these reasons even if they have not worked for you for two years.
Tackle problems early – don’t let things fester and escalate.
Get advice before you act, unless you are very sure of what you are doing.
This information is provided for general guidance only and is not a substitute for individual legal advice. You should seek legal advice about any specific situation which you face.