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Blog  »  August 2017  »  €30,000 Awarded to employee dismissed during probation - Blog
16
Aug 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

€30,000 Awarded to employee dismissed during probation

If an employee has less than one year of service with an employer they are not protected under the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977-2007. In spite of this, all employees are entitled to natural justice and fair procedures, which makes dismissing an employee whilst on probation less straightforward than it may seem. This is evident in this case where a former General Secretary of the Irish Postmaster Union was awarded €30,000 for being unfairly dismissal during his 6 months probationary period.

Background

The employee commenced working for the Irish Postmaster Union in August 2009 and was advised that he was on a probationary period for 6 months. In October 2009 he had his first performance review and in January 2010 he had his second performance review. Towards the end of January, the employee was informed that there were reservations regarding his performance and that this probation period was to be extended for a further 3 months. The employee wrote a letter to his employer expressing his concerns regarding this and was subsequently dismissed and paid 3 months’ salary in lieu of notice.

Findings

The court found that the employer had failed to “adhere to either its own disciplinary procedures or be bound by the provisions of the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures S.I. No 146 of 2000 because he was on probation, was misconceived”. The employee was awarded €30,000 for unfair dismissal on top of the 3 months’ salary he was paid in lieu of notice.

Learning Points

Employers must be aware that although the employee is not protected by the Unfair Dismissals Act, that they can still make a claim for unfair dismissal under the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. It is advisable for an employer to include a probationary clause in their employee’s contract of employment, and if they wish to dismiss an employee during the probation period that they should exercise fair procedures.

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Posted in Awards, Company handbook, Contract of employment, Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Employment Tribunals, Staff Handbook