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Damages for Redundant Apprentice

Kinnear v Marley Eternit Ltd t/a Marley Contract Services

Mr Kinnear was taken on by Marley under a four-year apprenticeship during which he was trained in roofing.

A downturn in workload led to his dismissal for redundancy despite his contract having 122 weeks left to run. He could not find another company to take him on, and so was not able to finish his apprenticeship.

Mr Kinnear won his claim for damages on the basis that the employer had brought his fixed-term contract to an end early. He was awarded £25,000 – the maximum that the tribunal could award. It took into account:

  • the likelihood that he would not be able to complete his apprenticeship because of his age and because of the downturn in the economy. Also relevant was the fact that his apprenticeship had been tailored to the sort of products that Marley used;
  • he difference between what he should have earned to the end of his apprenticeship (£24,217) and any income that mitigated that loss;
  • his likely future loss, which will be affected by the fact that he does not have the roofing qualification that was at the heart of his apprenticeship. He will be disadvantaged in the labour market.

If you are an employer of apprentices, take note: these contracts are no less significant than other workplace arrangements. Ending a fixed-term apprenticeship agreement early can be expensive.