The Employment Relations Authority has upheld two separate personal grievances for unjustified dismissal against an employer in four months, for incorrectly trying to rely on 90-day trial clauses.

In the first case, the employer employed the employee and a valid trial clause was part of the employment agreement. After a few days, the employer was not satisfied with the employee’s work.

The employer called the employee into his office and dismissed her on the spot, relying on the 90-day trial clause. The employer later called the employee and told her that she would be paid out her notice period.

The Authority held that although there was a valid trial clause in the agreement, proper notice was not given to the employee, and so the trial clause could not prevent the employee from raising a personal grievance against the employer for unjustified dismissal.

The Authority ordered the employer to pay the employee over $3,700 in lost wages and $12,000 in compensation.

In the second case, the employer gave an employee notice under a 90-day trial clause. However, due to a claimed clerical error, the clause was not included in the employment agreement.

The Authority held that the employer could not rely on the clause as it was not included in the agreement, and ordered the employer to pay the employee over $4,200 in lost wages and $10,000 in compensation.

If the employer had taken steps to ensure that its employment agreements were robust, properly drafted, and that it understood how to use a trial clause, it could have avoided paying almost $25,000 in unpaid wages and compensation.

This does not include any legal costs that the employer had to pay employees or their own legal costs in trying to defend the claims.

If you are unsure whether the trial clauses in your employment agreements are legal, or how to use them effectively, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-priced Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.