September 26, 2023

As an employer, have you ever ever puzzled whether or not terminating an worker earlier than they begin is authorized? 

This may sound tempting, however earlier than you proceed, you must decide whether or not it’s authorized. Alternatively, as an worker beginning a brand new job is all the time thrilling, providing numerous alternatives and connections. However what occurs when you signal your employment contract and your employer terminates your employment earlier than your first day?

On this article, we’ll clarify whether or not an worker might be terminated earlier than they begin their job, the explanations an employer can select to terminate an worker’s employment contract earlier than they begin, and solutions to different continuously requested questions.

Learn alongside!

It’s authorized for employers to terminate an worker earlier than they begin. Nonetheless, that is solely authorized in some circumstances. As an employer, a technique you possibly can make sure you’re legally terminating an worker earlier than they begin their job is by together with a time period of their employment settlement that their employment solely begins as soon as they begin their job.

Are you able to be terminated earlier than your first day?

Usually, terminating an worker’s employment contract earlier than it begins taking impact, i.e. when the worker truly begins the job, leads to an employer breaching their authorized obligations as a result of a contract is a legally binding settlement. Due to this fact the worker who has been terminated can take authorized motion towards their employer. 

The worker’s capability to take authorized motion is especially essential if they’ve sacrificed lots of time, cash, resigned from their present job, and different job alternatives to begin their new job. An worker would have the ability to sue the employer for the next:

  • They’ll sue the employer for breaching the contract, and this can permit them to get well any losses they’ve suffered because of an employer’s breach
  • An worker can sue the employer for misplaced alternative as a consequence of them signing their employment contract as they may have discovered a unique job and been employed by a unique employer

Can an worker who has been terminated earlier than they begin make an unfair dismissal declare?

Usually, when an worker faces unfair dismissal, they will apply to the Fair Work Commission for potential options below section 394 of the Fair Work Act 2009. Nonetheless, there are specific circumstances that must be met for an worker to have the ability to full this software. These embrace the next: 

  • An worker can solely apply if they’ve been employed for at the least one 12 months if their employer has 15 staff or much less. Due to this fact, they’d be thought of to be a small enterprise employer.
  • If the employer has greater than 15 staff, the worker can apply if they’ve been employed by the employer for at the least six months.

Due to this fact, staff who’ve had their employment cancelled earlier than their first day don’t meet this working time requirement and are unable to use to the Truthful Work Fee for an unfair dismissal declare.

What are the frequent causes an employer would need to terminate an worker earlier than they begin?

The commonest motive an worker could select to fireside an worker earlier than they begin a job is because of an worker failing a pre-employment test. A pre-employment screening is the verification of the worker’s identification and credentials. The aim of a pre-employment test is to make sure an worker has not lied on their resume or has a prison background associated to the work they’re making use of for.

As a pre-employment test is a obligatory a part of the job interview, the employer can terminate a possible worker.

As an employer, try to be cautious to keep away from terminating an worker’s employment due to discriminatory causes, as that is unlawful as employers are legally required to keep away from discrimination when hiring staff.

When can an employer terminate an worker after they begin their job?

Workers normally start a job with a probationary interval of three or six months. Throughout your probation interval, your employer can terminate you so long as they give you one week’s discover. When you have already began your position, your new employer could terminate you with little or no discover when you commit critical misconduct.

When can an employer terminate an worker earlier than they begin with out offering a treatment?

It’s authorized to terminate an worker with out discover in some conditions earlier than a possible worker begins the job. In these circumstances, there aren’t any cures obtainable for the staff. Two frequent causes an worker could also be terminated earlier than they begin their job is that if they commit critical misconduct or if the employer discovers that the worker has lied on their resume.

1. Critical misconduct

If an worker commits critical misconduct earlier than beginning the job, their employment might be terminated with out prior discover. Critical misconduct can embrace the next:

These actions contain breaching the corporate code of conduct.

2. Mendacity on their resume

An worker might be fired in the event that they lied on their resume. For instance, in case you are employed for a nursing place however have offered a transcript of a pretend nursing diploma, you might be fired. On this case, this particular person has dedicated fraud, and they are often fired instantly with out discover. If an worker has been fired as a consequence of mendacity on their resume, there aren’t any cures or compensation obtainable to them.

How are you going to decide whether or not you possibly can terminate an worker earlier than they begin the job?

If you wish to terminate an worker’s employment contract earlier than their begin date, it is best to take a look at their employment contract to see whether or not there are any phrases within the contract that permit you to take action. For instance, the contract might embrace a time period that outlines that the place is conditional upon the worker beginning the job. On this foundation, it will be authorized to terminate the employment contract earlier than the worker begins working.

Alternatively, if the employment contract the worker has signed incorporates a probationary interval, it might not be potential to terminate the worker with out a trigger earlier than the beginning. On this state of affairs, the worker received’t have the ability to be terminated earlier than they begin, and also you’ll have to supply them with the discover interval that’s included of their employment contract.

Nationwide employment requirements can apply if the worker’s employment contract doesn’t embrace any phrases concerning probation intervals or a discover of termination. The Fair Work Ombudsman National Employment Standards state that the minimal discover interval that should be offered to staff is one week. Nonetheless, when you’re terminating an off-the-cuff worker, a discover interval isn’t required. 


As an employer, you’re allowed to terminate an worker’s employment earlier than they begin the job below sure circumstances. In the event you’re uncertain whether or not you’re allowed to terminate the worker, it is best to rent a lawyer to keep away from authorized penalties comparable to the worker taking authorized motion towards you.

As an worker, it’s vital to know your rights when you’re going through dismissal earlier than you begin a brand new job. In the event you’re unsure when you have been fired legally and also you want authorized recommendation, it is best to rent a lawyer to find out whether or not you possibly can take authorized motion.