Dismissing an Employee with less than 2 Years’ Service

UK Immigration Blog

Dismissing an employee on its own is a sensitive matter for an employer, let alone dismissing an employee with less than two years of experience in your firm. The employee could file a request for unfair dismissal, which could become a hassle. If you are looking for detailed information, you are at the right place. So, let’s get right into it;

For starters, the employer does not have to give any specific reason for dismissing an employee whose work experience at their firm is less than two years. But, if the employee files for unfair dismissal, it could stir up trouble for you. So, to avoid that scenario, you have to be cautious and know about the rules beforehand.

Further in this article, you will get a detailed insight into this matter. All the necessary ambiguities regarding this will be cleared. So, make sure you read till the end to catch everything.

Minimum Employment Period UK

In the UK, the minimum employment period is determined by the length of the employee’s contract. For employees with fixed-term contracts, the contract is the minimum length of employment.

For permanent contracts, the minimum employment period is two years. This means that they cannot be fired without a solid reason until the employee has worked for the company for two years. There are several exceptions to this, which will be discussed later.

Check out: Summary Dismissal

Laws Regarding Dismissal Of an Employee With Less Than 2 Years Of Service

Certain laws in the UK must be followed when dismissing an employee with less than two years of service.

In dismissing an employee whose service is less than two years, certain laws in the UK have to be upheld. Violating these laws could lead to worst-case scenarios for the employer. So, try to avoid clashing with them as much as possible. The laws are as follows;

1. Specific Reasons Not Necessary:

In major cases of dismissing a short-service employee, the employer does not have to provide the authorities with specific, detailed reasons for the dismissal. In such cases, the employees can not even file an unfair dismissal request because the employee still needs to reach the statutory period.

If this is the case, then the employer is on benefits because they do not have to go through long investigations or disciplinary hearings because the employee was of short service yet. This request only becomes viable if any special cases are discussed further ahead.

2. Claim Of Unfair Dismissal:

Another case is if the employer dismisses the employee with less than 2 years of service for whistleblowing or any other ethical and moral actions but not in the employer’s interest. Here, the employee can file for unfair dismissal after providing solid evidence.

If the request gets accepted, the employer must go through all the procedures and disciplinary hearings or investigations until the matter is resolved. By far, this is the worst scenario for the employer. So, I suggest conducting investigations to see if the dismissal was fair or unfair before going to the official ones.

3. Notice Period:

In the United Kingdom, before dismissing an employee, the employer has to give them a statutory notice beforehand. As for the service time of employees, the ones with less than a month will receive no notice. But the ones with more than a month will receive a one-week notice.

Remember that in this period, the employers must give the employees fair and square chances to defend themselves. This is a necessity set by the authorities overseeing such matters. So, be cautious and give the employee a chance to get their employment back.

4. Reasons For Fair Dismissal:

As an employer, you should keep this in mind if you are dismissing an employee with less than two years of service there are some reasons why you can dismiss an employee with short service. These reasons are centred on the benefit of the firm rather than the personal kind of beef of either party.

These reasons include misconduct, redundancy, not being valuable to the company, etc. All these reasons allow the employer to legally dismiss the employee with short service without any legal hearings or investigations.

5. Automatically Unfair Dismissal:

Automatically unfair dismissal is a situation where when an employee gets dismissed, the reasons are said to be unfair automatically based on evidence. These include family matters leave, maternity leave, whistleblowing, upholding a legal right, discrimination, etc.

The laws in the United Kingdom majorly support the employee in case of unfair treatment. All these are the reasons to consider the dismissal automatically unfair. These enable the employee to have some leverage because they have a legal right to be in employment. Still, they were fired just because of exercising a legal right provided to them by the authorities.

6. Breach Of Contract:

In the current era, most employment is initiated with a contract. In this case, if the employer dismisses an employee with less than two years of service, then they are in breach of a contract, and doing so will put legal penalties on the employer.

This is by law because you can only terminate a contract that has yet to be completed. So, if the contract was more than two years, the employer has a high chance of facing punishment. So, watch out for that before making any decisions related to it.

7. Unlawful Discrimination:

Discrimination against others in any way is common nowadays, whether in professional or individual settings. But, in professional settings, certain laws prevent people from bullying others based on discrimination. The same could be the reason for dismissing an employee with short service.

If the employee has concrete evidence backing up their side of the story and if they were really discriminated against. Then, they will get compensation from the employer, and the employer will also face serious legal consequences. This could more or less fall under the automatic unfair dismissal, but it is considered separate.

Bullying During Notice Period

Workplace bullying can take many forms, such as unfair treatment of dismissed employees who are still on notice. Employers must recognise and avoid this behaviour if they wish to provide a respectful and secure workplace for all employees.

An employee already goes through hardship and worry when they are dismissed. Bullying during the notice period could make things much more difficult. This could involve being shunned, verbally abused, or given excessive, unjust work. Moreover, it could spread false rumours about that specific employee.

Bullying, while a dismissed employee is on notice, can harm both the dismissed employee and the workplace. The dismissed employee may experience physical health problems, worry, or emotional distress. It could also be difficult for them to get a new job if the bullying results in a poor reference or causes them to face additional obstacles.

Allowing bullying can lead to a bad work environment, poor productivity, and a higher likelihood of employee turnover. A dismissed employee may file a lawsuit if they believe they were the victim of discrimination, specifically bullying. So, this must be discouraged.

Civil Servants Redundancy

In civil services, redundancy refers to filling fewer and fewer posts due to adjustments to laws, the state of the economy, or other causes. The process may be difficult for both the government and the affected civilians.

When a corporation wishes to reduce costs or restructure its operations, redundancies frequently occur. A change in government objectives, a policy change, or a reduction in funding could all cause it for civil servants. 

Depending on objective factors, including performance, skills, and experience, employees may be selected for voluntary redundancy, early retirement, or involuntary redundancy.

Civil servants may experience complex redundancy processes. It involves speaking with the impacted employees, their representatives, and other stakeholders, such as trade unions, to analyse the options and results.

The government may also provide assistance and training to help impacted persons find new careers or transition to other positions within the public service. But, as a whole, this redundancy could lead to problems for both parties.

Can You Be Fired Without A Warning?

Several factors, such as your employment agreement, labour laws of the country, and the grounds for termination, play a crucial role in the outcome.

It all depends on many factors, including your employment contract, the country’s labour laws, and the reason for the termination. In some situations, employers may terminate employees with or without cause. 

But others must provide advance warning or a reason for the termination. Specifically in the UK, yes, you can be fired without warning, but a notice period is necessary.

At-will employment agreements, common in many countries, permit employers to terminate a worker without cause or warning. In some cases, the employee is not entitled to receive notice, and the employer is not obligated to provide a reason for the termination.

What is unfair dismissal in employment law?

An unfair dismissal can be a frustrating and confusing concept to navigate in the world of employment law. Put simply; it occurs when an employee is fired without just cause or proper procedure being followed. This can include being fired for discriminatory reasons, such as age, gender or race, or being let go without any warning or explanation. 

It can be overwhelming to confront an unfair dismissal, but knowing your employee rights and seeking legal guidance can help you fight for the compensation and justice you deserve. Remember, you are entitled to a fair and just workplace, and your employer must provide it.

What is the correct procedure for dismissal?

On books, the correct procedure for dismissing an employee from a firm is first to carry out proper investigations on the misconduct done by them. If they are found guilty, the employer must write a dismissal letter to the regarded employee.
In the letter, the employer describes the whole situation to the employee and informs them about their dismissal. Here, the notice period is also described, and the employee is given a chance to defend their case. Once all the legal procedures are done, and the employee is still found guilty, they are officially dismissed from the respected firm.


In all, even while it may be simpler legally for an employer to dismiss an employee with less than two years of service, it is still essential to take the proper precautions to avoid legal issues. Companies must ensure they have a solid reason for dismissing a worker and treating everyone equally.

This entails giving the worker notice of the termination and an opportunity to comment. Companies should also consider offering employee guidance and support during the dismissal process, such as by giving them a reference or helping them get new employment.

Regardless of their duration of employment, treating all employees fairly and politely is ultimately necessary to maintain a pleasant and productive workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the five reasons for dismissal?

Technically, there could be various reasons for the dismissal of an employee, depending on the employer. But, there are some reasons that are set by the authorities. They are not much and include misconduct, performance, redundancy, employment illegality status, etc.
All these reasons are set out by the authorities overseeing the regarded industry. Any employer who dismisses on these grounds follows the law and is not liable for any legal actions against them.

How do you write a dismissal letter?

Writing a dismissal letter is not much of a headache; you just have to start with simple greetings and the date the letter is written. These formal writings are necessary because ethics are very important in professional backgrounds.
Once the main greetings have been written, you must start with writing the employee’s dismissal. You have to state the reasons for the dismissal and the notice period. Ultimately, you have to give the employee a fair chance to defend themselves against dismissal.

What is the difference between misconduct and gross misconduct?

The term “Misconduct” refers to a behavioral unethical action of a person that simply violates the workplace rules and does not necessarily do greater damage to the firm. Some examples of them could be smoking in a non-smoking area, etc.
On the other hand, gross misconducts refer to more severe misconduct actions that affect the firm directly. These actions lead to more severe disciplinary actions against the employee. So, watch out for that because it may destroy your whole career.

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Teresa Aldridge
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VisaHelpUK - UK Immigration and Visa Application Advice Service
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