Sacked after 3 month probation

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My daughter had cancer 8 years ago which her employer was informed of. 6 weeks into her 3 month probation she found she had a recurrence. She felt the employer was not happy that she needed to take individual days off for investigation. Some eyebrows raised and looking to the ceiling. She postponed her biopsy results appointment for a week as she was scared to ask for time off. She is 21. 
I phoned the employer to discuss how we could make reasonable adjustments in the light of her recurrence and the Director of the small company would not take 5 minutes to speak with me. Her line manager assured me that although not ideal when running a business, they had told her that her health was more important. But she did not feel comfortable. Regardless, the appointments had to be attended.

She was called into the office at 3 months for a “catch up of how she was doing”. They told her that due to her lack of experience they would have to ‘let her go”. They knew she had no experience when she started, has been given no formal training and no feedback of her performance within the 3 month probation. No invite in writing to the “catch up” which I assume was the probation meeting, with the line manager and Director. 
What rights does she have please?

  • #Ellie Bar

    Hi Ellie

    Thank you for your query and I am sorry to hear about your daughter’s experience at her work.  My name is Stacey, and I am a work support adviser at Macmillan. Here are my thoughts.

    Although an employee usually needs to work for an employer for 2 years before having the right to claim unfair dismissal (1 years’ service in Northern Ireland) , there are some automatically unfair reasons which are exempt from this time frame. Employees do not need to have worked over 2 years to claim discrimination. A cancer diagnosis is automatically classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010 (Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland) and an example of discrimination would be if an employer dismissed someone for a reason related to having cancer.  If  your daughter felt that they dismissed her due to her revealing a reoccurrence of her cancer diagnosis and resulting treatment – then this might be seen to be discriminatory. Especially when after working there for 3 months she received no negative feedback on her performance or any offer of support or training for her to improve in her job.

    Did this happen recently? Did she ask if she could appeal against their decision? Her employer would probably not accept this as they may feel that she has less rights whilst on probation.

    If you would like to take the issue further you could contact ACAS (Arbitration, Conciliation and  Advice Service) The first website address is about unfair dismissal

    and the second website address is how ACAS support in providing a free conciliation service between your daughter and the employer:

    Outcomes of the conciliation process could be that the employer could apologise and reinstate her in her job, or that they might offer her a settlement agreement or that they deny they have discriminated against her in anyway and that they dismissed on her performance. In the latter case ACAS would then give your daughter a certificate to continue the process to an Employment Tribunal. (Please be aware that ACAS should be approached at the start of this process even if taking legal advice) You would then need to decide whether to take this further. The time limit on taking her case forward from the date of dismissal is normally 3 months minus 1 day.  

     (Please find more information on this link if you live in Northern Ireland):

     If your  daughter is in a trade union, they could offer her advice and may have recourse to legal services.  

    Otherwise, you could seek other sources of legal advice. Here is a link to the Law Society website where you can key in your postcode and ask for specialists in employment advice:

    Sometimes an initial interview may be free or at a fixed cost. There may also be an option for a ‘no win no fee’ representation. Some solicitors may provide advice through ‘legal aid’.

    Finding free and affordable help:

    The Citizens Advice (CAB) website also provide comprehensive advice about the options.

    The nearest CAB office often help with problems about employment rights and discrimination and there is also a national phone line: 0800 144 8848 (England) and 0800 702 2020 (Wales).  The website link is:


    Checking your own insurance policies for any legal insurance cover for employment issues. This is usually known as legal expenses insurance.


    Law Centres and Law Works.

    Some Law Centres offer free employment advice. Often an appointment needs to be made in advance. The centres can be found on the following link:

    Getting help from an Advocate

    If the case is going to a tribunal it can be possible to access a volunteer barrister for representation as an advocate if unable to access Legal Aid:

    Trade Unions

    Trade unions can offer free legal help such as finding or paying for a solicitor. The shop steward or workplace representative can be approached or contact the unions head office.


    Getting legal aid

    Legal Aid can help meet the costs of legal advice if the case is eligible for legal aid, not being able to afford to pay the legal costs and feel (in the case of employment) that an employee feels that they have been discriminated against. Evidence is needed of not being able to pay the costs towards the legal costs of the case and some money may have to paid back later. The information here is based upon England and Wales. There are different rules for legal aid in Scotland and Northern Ireland:

    and CAB legal aid in Scotland

    Northern Ireland:


    Help can be offered on rights and options, negotiations and paperwork and the support of a solicitor or barrister to get a case ready and will speak on the person’s behalf in court/tribunal.

    Financial eligibility is based upon an assessment with the Civil Legal Advice national helpline. There is an on-line assessment or this:


    I realise there is quite a lot of information here, if you would like to discuss her options  further please  respond to this text or you can also call us on the number below and our team of work support advisers will be pleased to help.


    Work Support Adviser

    Remember, you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am – 8pm) or by email.

  • Thank you Stacey- update. ACAS form filled in for discrimination under the disability act 2010. I am doing it for my daughter. If it prevents one other person having to endure this, then it is worth it!