We often get calls from clients who have just employed someone but realized that they are not right for the job. Often this is characterized but poor attendance or timekeeping, failure to build relationships at work, or simply not seeming to have the skills to do the job.
They often feel that as the employee has been with them less than two years they can just get rid of them without further thought and are surprised when we start to ask questions about the employee.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
There are still a multitude of claims an (ex) employee can make to an employment tribunal even if they have only been with you for 1 day, let alone two years. The main problem we are trying to avoid is a claim that our client discriminated against the employee. Claims like this are always disruptive and can tie the employer up in legal wrangles for months or even years. Indeed discrimination claims can be made before the employee has even started work.
WHAT IS THE RISK
The awards in claims like this can also be more costly as the employee can also ask for a payment related to injury to feelings. These awards are set in three bands known as Vento Bands (after a case of the same name some years ago). From 6th April 2023 these bands have gone up to:
Lower band Between £1,100 and £11,200
Middle Band Between £11,200 and £33,799
Upper Band Between £33,799 and £56,200
And in exceptional cases, even higher awards can be made. Clearly, at the Middle and Upper band levels, these awards can be larger than an award for unfair dismissal. So, yes we do tend to ask a lot of questions when dealing with something that appears “cut-and-dried”, but we’d rather do that before anything happens than explain it to a judge in a lengthy and often disruptive and costly court case.