The Employment Relations Authority has upheld a claim for unjustified dismissal after an employee was dismissed under a 90 day trial period.

The 90 day period was due to expire just before Christmas and the employer intended to dismiss the employee at that time.  However, the employee requested an extension to the trial period to give him a further chance to improve.  The employer decided as it was just prior to Christmas that it would be unfair on the employee to dismiss him then.  It therefore agreed to a one month extension.  The employee was dismissed at the end of the extended trial period.

The ERA held that there is no power to extend a 90 day trial period beyond 90 days even at the employee’s request.  Therefore the dismissal was not valid under the 90 day trial period provision and was not justified.

The employee was awarded $6,600 lost wages, $8,000 compensation plus unpaid holiday pay ($800) and legal costs ($2,300).  This made a very expensive $17,500 lesson for the employer for its Christmas generosity.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer