I wondered if someone may be able to shed some light for an employer?
We have a case of an Advanced Apprentice that has had several warnings (verbal and written) due to a number of things including attendance / timekeeping etc. The employer has now reached the stage of wanting to dismiss the learner due to the continuing issues. He has spoken to ACAS who have now put him at unease about dismissing his Apprentice, saying that the Apprentice can sue the Company for unfair dismissal.
I am under the impression that as long as the employer is following his own written set of disciplinary and dismissal procedures and that he can evidence that the apprentice has not adhered to the contract, the employer can dismiss the learner whether they have finished their apprenticeship or not and does not risk the “unfair dismissal” card being played.
Can anyone clarify this before I confirm this with the employer?
Employment law is a minefield and everyone is afraid of being sued, but looking at this slightly differently: if the Apprentice had truly been guilty of Gross Misconduct (eg theft, injury, malicious damage, etc.) then would you not expect such a dismissal to be fair and unchallenged? Therefore this appears to be more a case, to me, of being able to defend against any “unfair dismissal” claim and the employer needs to be able to demonstrate that they have been more than fair and given the employee/Apprentice every opportunity to improve and that they have followed and recorded procedure meticulously.
I don’t see why being an Apprentice should alter standard employment practices, such as disciplinary, and so this seems to me to be more of a legal question.
However if anyone else out there has first hand experience then that would doubtless help.
We are an employer and we follow company processes and procedures to deal with poor job performance / capability issues, occasionally leading to dismissal, and as far as I’m aware we have never had any backlash from that. They are an employee as well as an Apprentice, with a contract of employment, which means they have the same rights and responsibilities as any other member of staff.