Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please explain your situation a bit further
I was temping in a long term assignment in the NHS. I was then offered the substantive position. I have received the offer letter etc but no contract as yet with start date.
There is a horrible member of staff in the office. No one gets on with her, I have tried. She has had many complaints made about her but nothing has been documented over the years when in fact she should have a very large file. Management failure there. She is very rude to staff, consultants and other staff including myself but I never complained and just go on with my work. Unfortunately one day I did send an email about her to another colleague and sent it to her as well by mistake. She retrieved it and took it over to the management office. Obviously this was my mistake and they said if I was employed properly then this could have been a suspendable offence, wherein she always leaves patients notes in the window and her computer open. Never gets told off, never does any work. Therein my manager said they wanted to put my offer on hold for a few months to show that I wont act in this way again which I thought was unfair in itself. I did apologise to the employee as requested but I went back to work on Tuesday and they called me in again and said I said something else about this employee and that they have to let me go. Surely this is a breach of contract? Is it even worth fighting. I was relying on this job and am now out of work with a family of three to support. I value any advice. Thanks.
Many thanks for your patience. The first key issue here is whether there was a legally binding contract in place. To determine that we need to examine the situation and determine whether the necessary legal elements were satisfied. A contract requires an offer, acceptance and consideration. So to be able to successfully argue that you had a contract you must show the employer had made you an offer, you had accepted it and had shown some consideration. The offer was there, I am not sure whether you had actually accepted it or were still thinking about it, and the consideration would be anything that showed you had relied on the offer to change your position.
Assuming you can satisfy the above, you must then consider whether the employer had breached the contract. If it was not conditional on anything it is likely that they may not have been able to simply go and terminate it like this. However you must consider what losses you have suffered as a result and in your case that will not be much. That is because had they gone ahead with the offer and allowed you to start working for them, they could have still dismissed you on day one by simply giving you the required contractual notice period you were entitled to. So in the best case scenario you can ask them to compensate you for the contractual notice period.
If there was no contractual notice period, then the news is not so good. That is because by law you are not entitled to any minimum notice period until you have been working there for at least a month. That means you could have started your first day and they could have legally dismissed you there and then without any notice period. So your losses would have been either zero or at most limited to the first day's work.
As you can see what you can potentially expect to recover depends on what notice period you were entitled to and if you were to pursue the employer for an alleged breach of contract these are the losses you could expect to recover.
I hope this has answered your query and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating - your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you