An employer on the receiving end of a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal has learnt to its cost the difference between a probationary period and a trial period in an employment agreement. To be a lawful trial period the employment agreement must contain clauses outlining that the employment may be terminated within the trial period and that, if so terminated, the employee will not be able to take a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal.

The employee was hired under a probationary period which did not contain the specific information for it to be a lawful trial period.  It lacked references to termination of employment and the inability to take a personal grievance.

The employer fired the employee for poor performance without going through a proper performance improvement process, and therefore the dismissal was unjustified.

The Employment Relations Authority awarded two months wages plus $4,000 for hurt and humiliation.

If you need help putting effective trial periods into your employment agreements give me a call on (04) 473 6850.