What happens if an employer treats a fixed-term employee less favourably than a comparable full-time employee?

Any fixed-term employee who believes that he or she has been treated less favourably than a comparable full-time employee can write to the employer asking for a statement explaining the reasons for that less favourable treatment. The employer has 21 days within which to respond. The contents of the written response are admissible in evidence before an employment tribunal.

Fixed-term employees can complain to an employment tribunal that their employer has infringed their statutory rights under the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2034) by treating them less favourably than a comparable permanent employee. Where an employment tribunal upholds such a complaint, it can:

  • make a declaration to that effect; and/or
  • order the employer to pay such compensation as the tribunal considers just and equitable in all the circumstances; and/or
  • recommend that the employer take action, within a specified period, to obviate or reduce the adverse effect on the complainant.