10.5 Top Tips on Dismissing Staff With Less Than Two Years’ Service

There is often some confusion when it comes to dismissing staff with less than two years’ service. To help clarify what you can and cannot do and what some of the pitfalls are, Docs Wizard has put together a list of top tips when dismissing short service staff.


  1. Be aware that whilst these short service staff cannot claim unfair dismissal, which requires 2 years’ service, they might still be able to claim wrongful dismissal.
  2. Be aware that, if an employee thinks that their dismissal is linked to a protected characteristic, as set out in the Equality Act 2010, they might also be able to claim discrimination.
  3. Try to follow best practice guidelines* even though, strictly speaking, you don’t have to have a meeting with them to inform them of their dismissal.
  4. Be clear on your reasons for dismissal and have your own internal paper evidence – just in case they decide to make a claim for discrimination or something else.
  5. Listen out for any grievances they might raise during their dismissal. They might not use the word ‘grievance’ but your managers should be clear on what is and is not a grievance. Any grievance raised should be investigated following the required procedure. A template grievance policy available from Docs Wizard.


  1. Think that taking the easy option to dismiss by just texting them will reflect well on you amongst your other staff. People have long memories when it comes to how you treat your staff.
  2. Forget to confirm their dismissal in writing providing clarity about any notice or other monies due to them, when those will be paid and their actual date of termination. It is astonishing how many employees are unclear exactly when their last day of employment was. Template dismissal letters are available from Docs Wizard.
  3. Dismiss new starters because of errors made due to a lack of induction or lack of guidance. This is a costly way to operate. Instead, take some time to review your starter pack, induction process and documents such as your code of conduct.
  4. Forget to make sure that your disciplinary and dismissal policy in your employment handbook states that the procedure is NON-CONTRACTUAL, meaning they cannot claim breach of contract if you dismiss without following the procedure.
  5. Forget that contractual notice entitlement and outstanding accrued holiday MUST be paid unless you are dismissing for gross misconduct.

And Finally…

10.5 Don’t ‘recruit for diversity, but then dismiss for difference’. Check your reasons for dismissal. Consider how inclusive your environment is if you are dismissing someone with short service simply because others say they are not fitting in.

We hope our guide on dismissing staff with less than two years’ service has provided you with some clarity on the potential issues. If you need further information then please contact us.

*For details of best practice guidelines, and an overview of the law, take a look at this dismissing staff with short service HR Blast from Jaluch.

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