The Employment Court has dismissed an unjustified dismissal claim brought by an employee dismissed under a 90 day trial period.

The Employment Court held that there was a valid trial period in the agreement and that all of the legal requirements had been complied with.

The employee argued that he had not been provided with proper notice under the trial period because his employer paid him in lieu of the notice period.  The Employment Court rejected this argument and held that payment in lieu of notice, where allowed for in the Employment Agreement, was still a valid notice under the trial period.  The employee’s claim was therefore barred because of the valid trial period and that proper notice had been given in time in accordance with the trial period provision.

The Court went on to consider what would have happened had it found that there was no valid trial period in the agreement.  This was of interest because the employee had found other work almost immediately after being dismissed and so suffered very limited loss of wages.  However, after bringing a claim in the Employment Relations Authority and the publication of that decision, the employee found that recruiters were not keen to take him on their books because of the adverse publicity about his dismissal.  The Employment Court held that the adverse publicity and the reaction of the recruitment companies, following the end of a fixed term employment agreement with a subsequent employer, was not the fault of his original employer and therefore no damages for loss of wages would have followed even if there had been an unjustified dismissal.

This was a case where the employer got its processes right.  It had a validly drafted trial period clause in its agreement, which complied with all of the legal requirements and it exercised the dismissal under that trial period correctly and within time.  This is a good example of the protection that employers get from the law if they comply with the legal requirements.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer