HR Problems PageWednesday, September 7th, 2011
End of fixed term contract
One of our employees was engaged on a fixed term contract that is about to expire. We do not need her any more. Is there anything in particular we have to do other than just let her go?
You should treat the ending of a fixed term contract in the same way as any other termination. Although the termination date may be stated in the contract, nevertheless give appropriate notice, which is the longer of either one week per year of unbroken service or whatever is in the contract. If the employee has one year of service with you, you must give a fair reason for the dismissal. If you do not need her anymore then it would seem that she is redundant and, if she has two years service, is entitled to a redundancy payment. However, before dismissing, be sure to look for and offer any suitable alternative employment with you.
Right to see personal reference
We have been asked by another company to provide a reference on one of our employees to whom they are thinking of making a job offer. The employee has agreed that we may send a reference, but insists on seeing it before it goes out. We are not happy about this. How do we stand?
You did right to let the employee know that you propose to send a reference. Strictly speaking he is not entitled to view the reference before you send it but he will have the right to see it if he joins the new employer. Also, if there is suspicion that you gave an inappropriate reference and the employee takes you to law, the court has power to demand that you reveal its content. For that reason I suggest that you show your employee what you intend to write. If he is not happy, you have two options. First, send it regardless, recognising that, if the employee feels it is inaccurate, he may take you to court. Second, agree not to send it, and tell the company requesting it that you are not prepared to provide a reference. If you choose the second option, be sure not to indicate anything at all to the potential new employer. If that is a problem, it belongs to your employee, not you.