Q: I want to hire a new employee. Can I put her on a casual or a fixed-term employment agreement to ‘trial’ her?

A: Casual and fixed-term employment are both quite distinct from permanent employment, the category into which most employees fall. Employment law tends to focus on the reality of the situation rather than the label you stick on it. This means that if the employee would really be a permanent one but you put them on a different type of agreement, if you end the person’s employment they will likely have grounds to bring a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal. This is certainly something you want to avoid! Your best bet would be to put the employee on the correct agreement and make sure you have followed the steps to make sure there is a valid 90-day trial period in place. The Restaurant Association can help to set you up with the right employment agreements and make sure you have done what you can to have a valid trial period. Give us a call on 0800 737 827 to get started.