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Understanding Employment Rights

View profile for Darryll Thomas
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Employees with less than 2 years service don’t have the full wealth of employment rights that employees have with service beyond that time. This can often leave them vulnerable in the workplace. In particular such employees do not have the right to claim unfair dismissal in the event that they are dismissed, neither are they entitled to redundancy payments.

Exceptions to the Rule: 'Day 1' Rights

There are however certain limited circumstances where an employee does have the right to claim unfair dismissal as a ‘day 1 right’. These are set out within the Employment Rights Act 1996 and include amongst other things the protection from unfair dismissal where the employee has asserted a statutory right or has become a ‘whistleblower’ for example.

Case Study: Wright vs. Hilton Food Solutions

This was highlighted in the recent Employment Appeals Tribunal (“EAT”) in the case of Wright -v- Hilton Food Solutions. In the case in question Mr Wright had only been in employment for some 6 months when he informed his employer that he was intending to take a period of parental leave.

Shortly after making this declaration Mr Wright was made ‘redundant’. Mr Wright successfully argued that the real reason for his dismissal was the fact that he intended to take parental leave and as such could bring an automatic unfair dismissal complaint despite his limited service.

His employer argued that this wasn’t the reason for the dismissal and in any event he had not commenced any of the formalities that are required of an employee in order to take such leave.

The employment tribunal and latterly the EAT disagreed and determined that simply stating a firm intention to take this leave was sufficient to provide Mr Wright with the appropriate legal protection and his claim should succeed.

Implications and Future Considerations

A decision of this nature will undoubtedly have a knock on affect into other similar areas whereby the employee is required to undertake an application process in order to be granted the right. Most particularly could be a flexible working request where it is quite common to initially sound out their management as to the prospects of working flexibly.

Find out more

Employment partner Darryll Thomas can provide expert advice on employment law for both businesses and individuals. You can also contact your local mfg office for more information about services near you.

mfg will be running a series of Employment Law Workshops throughout 2024, offering employers advice on common workplace issues and covering any updates in employment law. For more information about our 2024 Employment Law Workshops, please visit our events page.